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New 'Digital Media Project Development' course from Knight Center a success

Carolina Ruiz Vega, a science and technology journalist at El Financiero in Costa Rica, said she is looking forward to applying the new techniques she learned in the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas’ new online course, Digital Media Project Development.

Ruiz now knows “step by step what to do to create a digital project,” she said.

“We can’t be left behind,” she said. “We have to learn to use digital tools, to communicate in this ‘language,’ in this new channel, before it becomes a job requirement.”

This was the first time the Knight Center offered the course, which taught journalists the basics of creating digital media projects, such as content strategy, Search Engine Optimization, content syndication, socialitics, metrics, and monetization aspects.

Forty journalists from 17 countries, including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela, participated in the free Spanish-language course, taught by Hiram Enriquez of Univision Interactive Media. The class ran Feb. 22-April 4, 2010.

“The course was a success from my point of view,” Enriquez said. “We had great participation of students from many different countries and many different backgrounds. And since the course was a hands-on, practically oriented seminar, we got to see how very interesting projects took shape throughout the class. Hopefully some of those projects will become a reality soon.”

For more information about the class, see the Course Information Sheet. The course will be offered again in July.

One successful element of the course was the use of real-time chats allowing the journalists to discuss among themselves the assignments and the lesson’s topics, Enriquez said.

“It is always eye opening to be face to face with the enormous potential for innovation that the Latin American journalistic community holds,” he said. “We saw many interesting perspectives and ways to go about projects based on available resources in different situations and scenarios.”

Enriquez said he believes the most important thing students took away from the course is a better understanding of the way journalism is changing with the new media age.

“Journalists pushing digital media projects have to be constantly aware of what aspects of the media business and technology impact their projects directly, and they need to be able to work and communicate clearly with multidisciplinary teams,” he said.

The former program director for Yahoo! Hispanoamérica in charge of editorial operations for Yahoo’s Spanish-language sites, Enriquez also was the creator and presenter for the CNN in Spanish program “Digital Zone,” which focused on topics related to the Internet and personal technology. He also writes about digital media, communication and information networks for his blog, Digital Stucco.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean. For more information, contact the Knight Center’s program manager, Jennifer Potter-Miller at jpotterandreu at mail.utexas.edu or +1 512 471-1391.