Journalists from nine countries complete online course on using social media
The Knight Center recently completed the online course "Social Networks for Editors." Journalist Robert Quigley, ex-editor for social media at the Austin-American Statesman, taught the course to 25 journalists from nine countries from July 18 to Aug. 28. Quigley recently began teaching at the University of Texas at Austin.
"This was a great experience," Quigley said about the course. "I'm a new professor at the University of Texas, so the experience of building a class and managing it really helped me. The students all seemed to enjoy the class, and I learned a lot from them. Most of the people taking the course were not in the United States, so hearing their unique perspectives and challenges was really fascinating. Many said they would take what they learned in the course and immediately apply it in their jobs. That's rewarding," he added.
The course was conducted in English and completely online, divided into weekly modules including video conferences, online resources, as well as debates and exercises. Journalists from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, the United States, Nicaragua and Honduras participated.
"Social media, in whatever form it evolves into, is an integral part of journalism now. People fully expect to have a deep social connection with the journalists who cover their community, and smart news organizations want employees who know how to form those connections. A class like this helps journalists see the benefits of trying new tools and gives them an action plan to make them work," Quigley said.
Tatiana Cavalcanti, a Brazilian journalist who participated in the course, said, "I always saw social media as something useless because people didn't use them appropriately. This course helped me see how social media can help us as journalists in our daily routine."
Quigley, who joined the University of Texas' School of Journalism as a multimedia professor, used his social media know-how to cover the shooting at Fort Hood in 2010. Judges from the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors awarded him first prize for covering breaking news, highlighting his use of social media in covering the story. Previously, he has also been the Internet editor, editor for letters to the newspaper, assistant editor of news and designer for the Statesman's website. Rachel Barrera was Quigley's assistant for the course. Barrera is a doctoral student in education at the University of Texas and works for the Knight Center's professional training program.
The Knight Center for Journalism in the America was founded by Professor Rosental Alves of the University of Texas' School of Journalism in August 2002, thanks to a generous donation from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight Center also receives contributions from other donors including the Open Society Foundations and the University of Texas at Austin. The Center's principle objective is to help journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean who are interested in improving the quality of journalism in their country.