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Internet, Technology Provide New Tools for Reporters

The Internet and technology developments are quickly changing how people receive news and how reporters provide it. There are now more ways than ever to tell a story. A university in the western American city of Los Angeles, California has built a high-tech newsroom to train student reporters how to work in the new world of journalism.

Faith Miller is one of those students. She says working in the newsroom taught her how much time and effort is needed to report a story.

“I did not expect that in school I would be reporting on real stories and I did not know how much work goes into it.”

Ms. Miller attends the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism.

Earlier generations of reporters worked either in newsrooms or as television or radio broadcasters. But today, members of the press must be able to report news in all the ways people want to receive it. Willow Bay is the director of the Annenberg School of Journalism. She says reporters today must know how to use technology to help them tell stories.

“Today we expect journalists to be able to use all sorts of technological tools to research stories, to vet that research, to analyze that research. We expect them to be fluid in multimedia storytelling skills. We expect them increasingly to be their own marketing and distribution arms, to get their stories in front of audiences and to spread those stories as far as they can.”

They learn all those skills in the school’s new media center. It was built like a newsroom. In the center of the newsroom is the assignment desk. That is where reporters learn what they are to investigate and report about. The newsroom has many televisions. The center also has more than 90 work areas where students can work with others on reports for television, radio and the internet.

Robert Hernandez is a professor of digital journalism. He says reporters in the future must be at ease using new technology. He says they should also learn computer programming languages.

“They need to know how the Web works and be able to tinker with it.”

Professor Hernandez says there are many ways reporters can tell stories today.

“You can do a 360 panorama through your phone. We can talk about what a tornado looks like, how it rips trees out of the ground. Through their phone there’s an app to kind of stitch them together.”

Serena Cha is the director of the media center. She says students there are learning how to use new technology responsibly.

“In the journalism arena we’ve got to consider carefully: How do we teach students to use the tools responsibly? Yes, new technology often raises new questions because you’re able to manipulate reality even more than before.”

The media center at Annenberg offers many tools of the field. But, students also study the skills linked to traditional journalism: how to write an interesting story that is based on facts, fairness and balance.

I’m Caty Weaver.


Words in the News

technology - n. the use of scientific knowledge and methods to produce goods and services

news - n. information about any recent events, especially as reported by the media

story - n. the telling or writing of an event, either real or imagined

future - n. time after now (“We can talk about it in the future.”); adj. in the time to come (“All future meetings will be held in this room.”)

tradition/traditional - n. a ceremony, activity or belief that has existed for a long time

Now it’s your turn to use these Words in the News. In the comments section, write a sentence using one of these words and we will provide feedback on your use of vocabulary and grammar.

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