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Course Curriculum

New Media

New Media Program

The future of journalism is in digital media, and our school is dedicated to giving students the knowledge and skills they need to determine that future. Our New Media Program is one of the most innovative and comprehensive of any journalism school in the country. We offer 10 different classes in all aspects of digital media, from multimedia reporting and visual storytelling to data journalism and programming for journalists.

Our program emphasizes teaching the latest digital tools and techniques so student can produce high quality, in-depth multimedia stories. The result: four out of the last five years our students have won the Online News Association’s award for best individual multimedia story.

Pioneering New Media Curriculum

We were one of the first journalism schools to teach web publishing back in 1995, and since then we have pioneered the creation of innovative courses in digital media that other schools have followed. We launched classes in:

  • entrepreneurial journalism and the business of online publishing, offered jointly with the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business in 1999
  • multimedia reporting in 2000
  • weblogs to publish news stories in 2002
  • mobile reporting to cover elections in 2004
  • video games and virtual reality for storytelling, a collaboration with the UC Berkeley Architecture Department in 2006
  • databases and map mashups for news stories in 2007
  • coding and data visualizations for journalists in 2011

New Media as the Core Curriculum

New media is now at the heart of our curriculum at Berkeley. All students are required to take a one-week multimedia bootcamp at the start of their first semester in which they learn how to:

  • use digital video and photo cameras and audio recorders
  • edit video, photos and audio
  • build interactive maps, timelines, data visualizations and graphics
  • combine all those skills to create compelling multimedia stories.

During the rest of the first semester students refine those techniques in two more required classes:

  • Web Skills, in which they learn HTML and CSS to create a portfolio website
  • Introductory Visual Journalism, in which they get more in-depth instruction in video and photo shooting techniques and editing and using mobile devices for multimedia reporting.

Working for the School’s Online News Sites

Throughout the first semester students apply the skills they’re learning in their introductory reporting classes, regularly producing videos, photo slideshows, maps, data visualizations, interactive graphics and multimedia story packages for one of our online local news sites – Mission Local, Oakland North and Richmond Confidential. We were one of the first schools to launch online community news sites in 2008 as a teaching tool and a way to provide news coverage to underserved local communities.

Specializing in New Media

For students who want to concentrate in new media we offer a rigorous sequence of classes designed to prepare students for three different types of jobs common at digital news organizations - multimedia journalist, interactive producers or data journalists:

  • A multimedia journalist, who does field reporting using digital photo and video cameras and produces multimedia stories, takes our advanced visual storytelling, designing and developing online news packages and advanced multimedia classes.
  • An interactive producer, who creates interactive graphics and maps and runs news websites, takes our designing and developing online news packages, coding for journalists, advanced programming and advanced multimedia classes.
  • A data journalist, who analyzes large datasets to help report and produce data-intensive stories, takes our data journalism, data visualization, designing and developing online news packages and advanced multimedia classes.
New media sequence

Most of these classes also are open to students in other programs at the school who want to add to their digital skills.

The school also offers related courses in entrepreneurial journalism and technology reporting, and we regularly introduce additional courses in new topics in digital journalism. Our new media curriculum is in a constant state of evolution to make sure we keep pace with changes in the digital media and news.

New Media Faculty

The three full-time instructors in our new media program are all accomplished, award-winning journalists who have made major contributions to advancing digital media in journalism education.

Assistant Professor Richard Koci-Hernandez has taught at the journalism school since 2009 and was named Assistant Professor in 2011. A nationally renowned multimedia journalist, in 2013 he was named a UC Berkeley Hellman Fellow to develop transmedia content for his upcoming documentary “The Cannon and the Flower.” Previously he was a multimedia producer and photojournalist for 15 years at the San Jose Mercury News, where in 2008 he won a national Emmy for New Approaches to Documentary for his video entitled “Uprooted.” He serves on the national board of the Online News Association.

Senior Lecturer Paul Grabowicz is the Bloomberg Chair in Journalism at the school and director of the New Media Program, which he set up beginning in 1995. He also was the driving force in creating the school’s Knight Digital Media Center training program in 2006. A professional journalist for more than 25 years, he spent most of his career as the investigative reporter at The Oakland Tribune, where he also served as night city editor and acting city editor. He is co-author of "California Inc.," a book about how the entrepreneurial spirit shaped the politics, culture and economy of California.

Lecturer Jeremy Rue has been at the school since 2007, starting as a multimedia instructor at our Knight Digital Media Center training program and now specializing in teaching our coding and programming for journalists classes. A technical editor for several textbooks on Adobe Flash and Adobe Dreamweaver, he previously worked as a multimedia journalist for the Oakland Tribune and a photojournalist for The Fresno Bee. A graduate of the journalism school, in 2007 he received UC Berkeley’s Dorothea Lange Fellowship for his photo documentary work on migrant farm workers in the California Central Valley.

Hernandez and Rue are currently writing a book for Routledge publishers that will dissect the new forms of journalism narratives that are evolving on digital platforms.

The new media faculty also curate and continuously update two digital guides on the school’s website to share their thinking about the evolution of new media journalism:

Besides our regular faculty, we also take advantage of our location at the heart of the new media revolution in the San Francisco Bay Area to bring digital media specialists and online journalists as guest speakers in our classes or to teach their own courses. Our current data journalism and data visualization classes are being taught by reporters or interactive graphics editors for the west coast bureaus of Pro Public and the New York Times and for the Oakland Tribune/Bay Area News Group.

Close Ties to the New Media Industry

Our school is also renowned for the multimedia training we provide for mid-career journalists through our Knight Digital Media Center. Established in 2006, the KDMC offers regular workshops in multimedia storytelling, social media, data visualizations and other digital skills. More than 1,000 journalists have attended KDMC workshops and we have provided custom training for news organizations, including National Public Radio, American Public Media, E W Scripps Company, America Online’s Patch and Oregon Public Media.

Our new media faculty work as instructors at many of the KDMC sessions and our students work as teaching assistants for the professional journalists in the workshops. This gives us constant insight into the digital challenges faced by news organizations and provides students with contacts at online news ventures around the country. The KDMC program also brings to the school many of the nation’s top digital journalists who give guest lectures at the workshops on trends in new media. And the KDMC website has more than 100 tutorials on digital media tools and techniques written by our faculty and training instructors and used in both our training workshops and our new media classes.

Award Winning Student Work

The clearest demonstration of the success of our program is the achievements of our students, who have won numerous national awards for their multimedia work.

For the last two years one of our students was a recipient of the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship, awarded each year to only a half dozen promising students working at the intersection of new media and computer science.

Three other of our new media students were finalists for the 2013 Digital Storymakers Award sponsored by the Atavist online publication and the Pearson Foundation. The Tribeca Film Institute accepted another student’s interactive documentary into its Tribeca Hacks 2013 hackathon that showcases innovation in interactive storytelling, and yet another student was invited by the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuels in Paris to give a presentation at their Smart Fip@ hackathon in 2014 on her interactive documentary on sexual harassment in India.

Here are the stories by our students that won the Online News Association national award for best individual student multimedia story:

Careers in New Media

Our new media students are in very high demand at news publications.

Graduates of our program are currently working at the digital operations of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNET, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Agence France Press, Mother Jones, Al Jazeera and National Public Radio, as well as numerous regional news organizations and public radio and television stations around the world.

Other new media graduates were hired to work on journalism initiatives at a wide range of new media and technology companies and organizations, including Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Apple, Code for America, EdSource, America Online, Storify and Facebook.

Facilities and Equipment

The school has a large supply of multimedia equipment kits for use by students, including HD digital video cameras, HD photo cameras and digital audio recorders, as well as accessories such as tripods, light kits, boom microphones and special lenses.

Students are required to purchase their own Apple laptops, but the school provides software used in instruction, such as the Microsoft Office Suite (including Excel for spreadsheets and Word), Adobe Creative Suite (including Premiere for video editing, Audition for audio editing and Photoshop for photo editing), TextMate for web page editing and WordPress for website content management. We also are converting one or more of our three computer labs into collaborative workspaces where students can work on digital media projects.