Thoughts on Fish At Bay interactive storytelling class project and convergence

After a semester of work, my interactive storytelling class launched its site about fish in Biscayne Bay launched last Wednesday: Fish At Bay.

Hats off to our converged class of “print” and visual journalism students: Walyce Almeida, Maria Arroyave, Erica Landau, Brian Schlansky, Jen Shook, Jamie Straz, Alex Thacker and Jason Walker.

Our professors, Kim Grinfeder (visual journalism) and Sam Terilli (print journalism), did a great job overseeing the project — and recruiting everyone. Also, thanks to our TA, Zeven Rodriguez.

To provide some background, Grinfeder and Terilli have collaborated the past two fall semesters with their Web production and in-depth storytelling classes, respectively. I was in the fall 2008 in-depth class.

With this spring’s (experimental) interactive storytelling class, they took it to the next level of convergence. As far as I know, this was the first class at the University of Miami School of Communication to combine the talents of print and visual journalism students in one class.

I took advantage of the opportunity to get more experience shooting and editing video, as well as to become proficient with Final Cut Pro. I particularly enjoyed being able to work in so may areas:

  • Write history story
  • Shoot b-roll and take photos for history video
  • Edit history video
  • Edit and write cutlines for history photos
  • Edit Delicate Balance video
  • Shoot an interview for the Building on the Bay video
  • Copy edit all stories
  • Write about page
  • Add p tags and hyperlinks (plus find links for) all stories

I’m usually critical of the lack of collaboration between the print and visual programs, but I’ve seen some very encouraging strides this semester.

Grinfeder and Terilli get it. Chris Delboni, my online journalism professor, and Michelle Seelig, the spring Web production professor, get it. (More thoughts on the online journalism class and our collaboration with the Web production class to follow).

So, what now?

Without a question, the interactive storytelling class should be a standard course, and it should be required for all journalism students at UM. Yes, that means bringing in broadcast as well. And there needs to be more converged classes, like an introductory storytelling class (more on this to come as well).

Resistance is futile. You must adapt.

Weigh in: What do you think of the Fish At Bay site?

CommTogether right now, over…journalism

I’m a student in the School of Communication at the University of Miami, but you would think that the various journalism programs (print, broadcast and visual) speak different languages sometimes from the lack of collaboration that is present.

Yes, there have been several notable successes — and I’ve been lucky to be in three classes this year that focus on convergence (In-depth reporting for convergent media, online journalism and interactive storytelling) — but the level of cooperation is still not where it should be.

I kept all this is mind while devising a new final project for my CNJ 442 online journalism class, after the first plan regarding the new didn’t work out a planned.

The result is a social networking site the class is developing using Ning:


The general idea came to me one night as I was chatting online with Hurricane Visuals Editor Will Wooten (check out his recent site redesign). Regarding the group name, which I love, credit goes to Kiersten Schmidt.

Here are details from the CNJ 442 proposal that I drafted and the class helped refine:


  • Bring together in one forum the three journalism programs at the University of Miami School of Communication: print, broadcast and visual
  • Recruit students, faculty, staff, alumni and prospective students
  • Begin a conversation about the future of school’s journalism programs
  • Conceptualize collaborative projects for classes, students, media outlets, etc.
  • Take ideas and turn them into reality


  • Profile pages: students, faculty, administrators
  • Groups: programs, classes, projects, media
  • Feeds: blogs, news, etc.
  • Photos and videos
  • Blogs: internal
  • Comments

Action plan

  • Discuss and decide on name for group (complete)
  • Create network (complete)
  • Create profile pages (complete)
  • Create groups within network: programs, classes, media, organizations, etc.
  • Invite/recruit students, professors, administrators, staff, alumni and prospective students (in progress)
  • Table in the SoC courtyard
  • Solicit ideas from everyone regarding the future of curriculum, organizations
  • Conceptualize possible collaboration projects, way to converge
  • Maintain the discussion
  • Continue to recruit new group members

UPDATE: I forgot one very important reason for this site:

Students should have a voice in the development of curriculum.

Weigh in:
Any suggestions/ideas for this site?

Comm Week: New media workshop, panel

I posted Monday about two journalism events for Comm Week 2008 (read it here); more details have since been released on two other events, a new media workshop and panel.

I will be participating in the workshop and liveblogging the panel. I will post the streaming feed for the panel and then the video once it’s posted. Stay tuned.

Details from the School of Communication Web site:

New Media Reporting: VIDEO WORKSHOP

February 15, 2008
10:00 am

Location: Communication International Building 2055

Ricardo Lopez, Miami Herald visual journalist

Brent McDonald, New York Times visual journalist

Will Payne, Current TV

The workshop is an introduction to video journalism. Lopez, McDonald and Payne will discuss the best gear for the job, basic elements new media reporters should look for while shooting, as well as editing techniques – what to include in a Web audio-visual news story and what to avoid.

PANEL: New Media Reporting – trends and challenges

February 15, 2008
11:30 am

Location: Communication International Building 2055

Moderator: Chris Delboni, UM / SoC

Suzanne Levinson — Miami Herald, director of site operations

Phil Lewis — Naples Daily News, editor & vice president of editorial

Ricardo Lopez — Miami Herald, visual journalist

Brent McDonald — New York Times, visual journalist

Will Payne — Current TV, College Outreach

Side note: Check out this video I produced after Suzanne Levinson spoke to my online journalism class.

Links to other class blogs

Here is a list of links to the other student blogs from my CNJ 442 Online Journalism class:

Weigh in: Comment on the blogs to get conversations started.

Update, Jan. 31 at 10:08 P.M.: Per a suggestion by Anna Haynes in a comment, here is a Google Reader public page for the class.

Back in action…sorta

The newsroom was abuzz for the first time in more than a month.

Editors abound. Couches pulled out. Ideas overfloweth.

It was great to see everyone again after break for The Miami Hurricane‘s first staff meeting of the semester. Old faces and new faces, all ready to get back into action (please excuse the cliche).

Here are some of the topics we discussed:

  • Copyediting all possible content before layout, which will begin with first issue
  • Outlook for multimedia this semester and what role the multimedia editor and assistant multimedia editor will play
  • Preview of Web site overhaul, which will be a collaborative, semester-long effort; Art Director/Visuals Editor Will Wooten, Webmaster Brian Schlansky and I will take the lead, working with other staffers and Chris Delboni’s CNJ 442 class
  • New Sunday meeting structure
  • Outline of SG spring election coverage timeline
  • What everyone’s favorite color is
  • Adjustments to process for editorials
  • Emphasizing the importance of blogs and being connected
  • Highlighting that we are not just a newspaper, but a news organization

Weigh in: What would you like to see from the paper this semester?