Modern storytelling where coal was king

Worried about the future of storytelling? Take a trip down to Connellsville. Yes, that Connellsville. The kids there are onto something great with the help of their pioneering teachers. They are pushing hard into the future – and they’re taking the whole school with them. I recently visited and wrote my latest media column based on the experience. Check it out…

Ask Jacob Kern about healthy eating, and the Connellsville High School junior can drop lines to a rap song about chasing water rather than soda or trans fats.

He wrote the lyrics and recorded them for his health class. Students here have created thousands of media projects this school year on everything from the laws of physics to the Spanish-American War.

Kern, 17, a media intern at the school, said the unconventional assignment helped him understand the material: “I like it a lot more than the traditional reading books. It’s stuck in my head.”

While media innovators largely focus on the latest social trends and tools for communicating to the masses, cutting-edge educators are driving their own classroom revolution with new digital tools — video, audio recordings, the internet and more. Technology is “relevant to their life,” Justin Aglio, Montour School District director of innovation , told me. “Students will engage things that are relevant to them.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/12329357-74/digital-tools-connect-with-tech-savvy-students

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Getting the news — up close

The first time my journalism students tried talking about Donald Trump’s “grab her by the. ..” — well, you know — moment, the men in class could not get out the words — afraid to embarrass and offend their female classmates.

From my latest media innovation in the Tribune-Review: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/11671977-74/moments-election-media

From my latest media innovation in the Tribune-Review: http://triblive.com/opinion/featuredcommentary/11671977-74/moments-election-media

After a week or so, everyone in class had accepted the phrase as part of our new national lexicon and they discussed it freely (although it remains too indelicate to publish here).

With the daily crush of information and social media technology that connects and exposes us in new ways, it’s easy to forget how many groundbreaking moments happen all of the time. We crossed several significant thresholds in the way we communicate during 2016.

In some cases, words and moments that once seemed too offensive turned into the daily discussions. At other moments, technology broke new ground by revealing startling new ways of sharing information.

Here’s list of the tradition-shattering moments from the past year: Continue reading

Presidential race raises questions about objectivity

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 11.40.37 AMThis presidential news cycle seems to be making history — no matter who you support.

It’s also forcing journalists to rethink the way they cover political races. For a long time, reporters sought objectivity by simply giving candidates equal time. I make the case in my monthly media column that’s no longer the case. Reporters need to be critical thinkers, ask tough questions and sort out reality from fiction.

Let me know in the comments section what you think…

Both sides are not the only side during this deeply vexing presidential election cycle.

Journalism schools have educated students for generations that political objectivity starts with presenting equal information from every candidate. If a journalist quotes a Democrat on a particular topic, the journalist also should find out what the Republican has to say.

But the pursuit of that kind of objectivity has come under fire. Some see blind attempts at objectivity has a cop-out against critical thinking.

By simply giving each side a chance to comment — without considering the veracity of those words – journalists can abdicate their central role of presenting the truth. Read more…

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Point Park & the Trib collaborate again

Thom

Thom Baggerman, chair of faculty in the School of Communication, describing the layout out the new Center for Media Innovation.

I have been working at Point Park University for 10 years since we started the Point Park News Service program there. Over that time, we have published more than 900 pieces of student work and Trib Total Media, our founding partner, has paid students more than $8,600 for their work.

Now, we’re building on that foundation. I’m excited to finally be able to talk about our new project — the Point Park University Center for Media Innovation. This will be a place for training journalism students in all of the disciplines of our craft. And it will be a place for working journalists to come and figure out the way forward.

It was a big deal to see the announcement in the Trib this morning. And it was great to hear local leaders giving their take during the press conference. It will be even more exciting over the coming months to see this place actually come together. Looking forward to it.

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