Journalism Education That Succeeds

Idsvoog, Karl
June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p90
This article presents the author's teaching experience at the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in the Republic of Georgia. At the Caucasus School, students do not take multiple courses at the same time. Instead, they focus on specific topics and skills for days and weeks at a time. They learn how to do journalism the same way they learned to ride a bike--by immersing themselves in the doing of it. Topics of focused work included political reporting, business reporting, computer-assisted reporting, radio reporting, newsroom management, photography and TV reporting. As part of their learning, students turn out real-world products. They publish a newspaper and produce radio stories and TV reports. They design and publish an online news site. My seven-week teaching duties at the school involved the TV portion of the curriculum--shooting, editing, lighting and producing. None of my students had ever edited video before they enrolled in this course; most had never shot a camera. Because students focused their entire attention on TV, they immediately applied to their projects what was discussed or demonstrated in class. By the end of the first day, every student had used the camera, reviewed their video, and then shot the camera again. By the end of day three, each student was editing. After these ground-floor exercises, they start shooting and reporting news stories. Before the second week of classes started, each had produced his/her first video news report. With an emphasis, too, placed on media management, the class also spends time on commercial video production in which they divided into teams and produced 30-second spots about the Caucasus School.


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