September 21, 2010

Online course in Spanish tackles “Hyperlocal Journalism”

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas offers the online course “Hyperlocal Journalism” from Oct. 17–Nov. 12, 2010. The four-week course for Latin American and Caribbean journalists is taught in Spanish by Argentine journalist and instructor Sandra Crucianelli.

A new generation of “hyperlocal” sites is filling the void left by the decline of news agencies and the crisis of the press. Hyperlocal journalism emerged mainly from citizens’ initiatives to provide information close to their immediate geographic locations. However, leading media such as The New York Times have begun to encourage spaces for hyperlocal news, adapting the basic rules of journalistic practice and creating new practices to reflect the new technology. Crucianelli’s course will introduce reporters how to write for such hyperlocal media.

“We hope the reporters will learn basic concepts for the practice of hyperlocal journalism, like the correct use of social networks for communication; and that they also learn techniques to encourage audience participation, encouraging the creation of a community of users and generating among them a bond of mutual confidence,” Crucianelli says.

The class will be conducted entirely online and is divided into weekly modules that contain audiovisual presentations, documents, and other online resources. Students can work at their own schedules, at their own pace, but they are expected to submit weekly exercises and to participate in online forums and other activities. Those who complete the course will receive a certificate of participation from the Knight Center.

Participants will be asked to pay an administrative fee of US$50, which will cover a small portion of the operating costs of the Knight Center’s distance education program. (The Knight Center is financed mostly through donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.) The fee, which will be paid online with a credit card, will cover course participation, and issuance of a certificate of participation. A limited number of scholarships is available for those journalists who are unable to make this payment.

Crucianelli has won national and international prizes for her work and is a specialist in precision journalism. She has taught her popular online journalism classes for the Knight Center since 2004 as part of the Center’s distance education program. She will be assisted in the course by Paul Alonso, a Peruvian journalist and staff member of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.

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 jpottermiller at mail.utexas.edu or +1 512 471-1391.