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Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies

A Genre-Aware Approach to Online Journalism Education

Yang Song

New media has brought constant evolution to professional journalism practices and news genres. Online news practices challenge the occupational jurisdiction of journalism with a multiplicity of conflicting and competing journalistic ideals. In order to prepare journalism students to meet the demands of online journalism today, journalism schools have developed courses that emphasize journalistic practice on online news platforms and tools, such as Twitter, WordPress.com, Soundslides Plus, etc.

Drawing on the theoretical lens of digital literacies, Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies problematizes the emphasis on transmission of certain professional values and news formats without raising students’ critical awareness that there can be diversity of values. Methodologically, the present study proposes a genre-aware, semiotic-aware, critical framework that aims at analyzing digital literacies required and practiced by online journalists. It simultaneously encompasses dimensions of professional culture, professional practices, and abstraction of instantiated meaning making via multimodal semiotic resources.

Multimedia News Storytelling as Digital Literacies is ideal for courses in journalism and mass communication, curriculum studies, and digital literacies. The book is a valuable resource for online journalism educators, journalism students, and online journalism practitioners.

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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INTRODUCTION

Research Background1

Technology has brought along constant evolution to journalism (Pavlik, 2001). With the emergence of online journalism in the 1990s, online news practices challenge the occupational jurisdiction of journalism with a multiplicity of conflicting and competing journalistic ideals, including objectivity (Schudson, 2003; Tuchman, 1978), transparency (Karlsson, 2010), and participation (Hujanen, 2013; Lewis, 2012). The new tools of news production and presentation afforded by the new media have inevitably brought along negotiations of journalistic rules, norms, or values in news institutions as well as genres of news storytelling defined by specific platforms and formats.

Along with the transformation of journalism practices comes the re-configuration of journalism education. In order to prepare journalism students to live up to the demands of online journalism today, journalism schools have developed courses that emphasize journalistic practice on online news platforms and tools. The majority of existing studies on online journalism education have adopted a skill-based paradigm,2 which regards the central task of online journalism education as equipping journalism students with necessary skills in order to be “work-ready” (Becker, Vlad, & Kalpen, 2011; Deuze, 2001). These skills include (1) technological skills of operating online ← 1 | 2 → tools, software, and platforms, such as SoundSlides Plus, WordPress.com, and Twitter; (2) traditional journalism skills or duties of sourcing, verification, text-based reporting, and editing; and (3) news packaging skills in relation to newly emerged formats, such as audio slideshows (photo slideshows with audio), animated information...

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