Knight Center’s second international multimedia workshop was a success

Photo by Rich Beckman

Katrin Verclas from and Knight Foundation Grantee teaches her seminar on "Ethical Reporting on the World's Most Under-Reported Issues" at the multimedia workshop in Grahamstown, South Africa.
Under the direction of the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism, University of Miami School of Communication professor Rich Beckman, 18 journalists and journalism educators from across Africa converged on Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, in September to learn cutting edge multimedia journalism skills and strategies during a five-day workshop.

Beginning with audio slide shows taught by Jim Seida of MSNBC and video-journalism by David Dunkley Gyimah of Westminster University in London, the students tackled new ways of storytelling in a multimedia world. They worked with new equipment and reporting problems that ranged from dealing with background noise to new ways of asking questions during interviews.

"This workshop was clearly one of the best," said Sam Terilli, associate professor at the University of Miami School of Communication, who conducted a half-day session on journalistic ethics that led to a wide-ranging discussion about different cultural perspectives on the forces affecting the purposes of journalism. "Everyone learned from everyone else — teacher and student alike — as we shared ideas, problems, strategies and questions," he said.

Loaded with tripods, audio recorders and cameras, the participants spent many hours in the field practicing their new storytelling skills and even more hours in the lab editing under the guidance of the instructors and Trevor Green of the Knight Center for International Media. The moment of truth for each exercise came the next session when each participant played his or her audio and then video story for the entire group, which would offer constructive critiques, ask questions and debate strategies.

Sanjeev Chatterjee, Knight Center's executive director, said these workshops have a dual purpose — to train international journalists and journalism educators on multimedia journalism but also to help them train local students to produce underreported stories around the world.

"These workshops' trainees and their students are committed to contributing local multimedia content to the Knight Center's world cities anchor project, a major undertaking for us," said Chatterjee. "Their stories will be published and have a real impact," he said, noting this was the second of a series of international multimedia workshops for journalism educators to be organized by the Knight Center in coordination with its anchor project on world cities.

The workshop ended on a Sunday with MobileActive's Katrin Verclas, a Knight grantee, who taught the participants new ways of using cellular telephones as tools for both professional and citizen journalists to gather and report news. To read more about her class, click here.

Posted on October 5, 2009