This paper focuses on the challenges of teaching Internet-based communications, an inherently difficult task given the rapid pace of technological innovation in the discipline. The analysis it offers has been based on the findings of empirical studies conducted over the past five years by KZBerri, a University of the Basque Country-based research group focused on teaching innovation in Web journalism courses that form part of the curricula of the school’s undergraduate journalism, audiovisual communication, and advertising and public relations degree programmes. The authors highlight two online journalism teaching innovation initiatives, one entailing a collaboration between students and media professionals, and the other entailing online collaboration between groups of students pursuing undergraduate communication degrees at universities located in Spain, Portugal and Brazil.
This paper includes the results of two Teaching Innovation Projects in the field of Journalism, in which, in order to develop internationalization skills in the subject “On-line Journalistic Writing”, students from different universities have worked together to create multimedia reports.
In the first edition, in the academic year 2017/2018, the Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (UFMS, Brazil) and the University of the Basque Country (UPV / EHU, Spain) took part in this project; in the second year -2018/2019- three more universities joined: Universidad Federal do Piauí (Brazil), Universidad da Beira Interior and Universidade do Porto (Portugal).
The objectives of this project have been to develop students’ journalistic criteria and writing skills, and to train their online community management and multimedia language abilities. Likewise, the project has sought to provide students with an international learning experience, following “internalization at home” (IaH) experiences. This relatively new concept in academia (Harrison, 2015) puts students in the mind of having an international experience without taking part in a mobility program. The first definitions were based on the promotion of plurality and interculturality (Crowther et al., 2000), but broadly speaking, it is also understood as any international minded experience at university, excluding mobility (Nilsson, 2003).
Among the main outcomes of these projects, and in accordance with the surveys carried out by the students, we can conclude that this internationalization experience contributes to achieve competences and skills of the subject, helping students to interact with remote audiences, and increasing their motivation and activity. Moreover, developing a common multimedia report in virtual groups with students of five universities has helped to include (or strengthen) the international or intercultural competencies in their curriculum.
The changes that are taking place in society and higher education in recent years require innovative teaching methodologies, so that students go beyond memorizing concepts or ideas and can perform analysis in a critical or responsible way (Mujica, 2012). Moreover, when these changes occur equally in the development of the profession to which our students aspire to reach.
Often, proposals for educational innovation are limited to the introduction of digital tools in learning processes (Sánchez and Fernández, 2015), although some people criticize that it is limited to the incorporation of ICTs into the education system (Lafuente y Lara, 2013). As pointed out by Magro y Cabello (2013), although technology plays an important role in this change, the main role will be played by people, more specifically, students.
Beyond tools and new technologies, it is necessary to apply training itineraries according to the social and cultural changes derived from the technological and the digital. This new context allows students a way of working oriented to achieve goals (Himanen, 2004) and their greater involvement in the tasks (Del Moral et al, 2014), assuming the responsibility of their learning and at the same time maintaining the motivation through different strategies (Winne, 1995, Wolters, 1998). Educating in this new scenario means developing in the students competences linked to social and ethical elements (Folgueiras and Martínez, 2009, Martínez, 2010), through a collaborative learning that emphasizes the construction of knowledge and not its simple transmission (Keating, 1998).
This communication analyses the application of the methodology of Project-Based Learning (PBL) as a new strategy for the subject “Online Journalistic Writing”, and the opinion that students have of its application in class. This subject focuses on the formation of a specific journalistic criterion for work in the cybermedia and in the development of editorial skills complementary to those of print and audiovisual media. In this way, it gives special relevance to the capacity and ability to plan and produce messages according to the differentiating characteristics of the cyberjournalistic language (hypertextuality, multimedia and interactivity) and to the conventions, principles and narrative functions of journalistic genres on the Internet.
PBL is a teaching strategy in which students, organized in groups, develop projects based on real situations (Boss and Krauss, 2007, Bender, 2012, Patton, 2012, Garrigós and Valero-García, 2012). They plan, develop and evaluate projects that go beyond the classroom and aim to have an impact in the real world.
Ongoing downsizing in the media sector has sparked a new start-up culture in the field of journalism. Over the past few years an increasing number of news organizations seeking to leverage social and symbolic rather than financial capital and cultivate employee as well as audience loyalty have entered the market (Wagemans, Witschge and Deuze, 2016). This paper examines El Diario (eldiario.es) and El Confidencial (elconfidencial.com). Qualitative methods involving the on-site observation in their newsrooms and semi-structured interviews with their journalists were employed.
Findings indicate that both see themselves as alternative news providers whose emphasis El Diario draws heavily upon the symbolic capital of its founder Ignacio Escolar, El Confidencial, has banked primarily on its social capital.
Users’ participation in news media websites has attracted great attention by academia in recent years. Nevertheless, studies about participatory journalism have traditionally been focused on the study of the participatory options offered by news media, or the attitudes of journalists towards the participatory options offered to the users. Just in recent years research started to be focused on the users themselves and their attitudes towards being involved in online participatory practices. This research presents the findings of a qualitative study based on focus groups conducted in Spain about citizens’ attitudes in relation to the participatory options offered by news media websites. Results point towards a general critique about how news media are implementing online participation, despite being news media websites “natural” online environments to foster participatory energies and the main spaces where citizens gather information about public issues. Focus groups also showed a minor interest in options of content production or content personalization, together with a higher demand for suitable spaces for public debate and interaction with journalists or the newsroom.
The world of communication is at a turning point, as technological advances and, more specifically, the digitization processes that began at the turn of the century brought many opportunities. At the beginning of the century, when the web was in the process of being established as the fourth largest media platform, processes related to the evolution of techniques and systems became prominent, and became a testament to the improvement and innovation of the media sector. Twenty years on from the beginning of the great innovation revolution brought by the web, we are still evolving today thanks to technological innovations that, in turn, pose new challenges or needs for change.
In little over a decade, essential concepts in research on communication have become zombie concepts (Beck & Willms,2004) and are no longer effective for understanding the profound transformation that has taken place with the arrival of the internet. Public sphere, deliberation, audiences, public…, the academic literature has oscillated between an initial optimism about the potential for strengthening democracy of communication technologies to a critical scepticism. This text reviews the academic literature with regard to the forms of social deliberation adopted in the context of the media and social networks and its impact on the public sphere.
Social media has been increasingly used to gather and share news stories from mainstream news sites. This article aims to extend the analysis to the public interactions between citizens and media on Twitter after the airplane accident of Germanwings’ flight 9525, in which citizens’ eyewitnessing role was minimized. Thematic and interpretative analysis have been carried out of 70,000 messages posted on Twitter with the hashtag #germanwings during the three days after the crash. Results point towards a hegemonic position of accounts connected to news media (mainstream, but also local and specialized outlets) in what regards public interactions in Twitter. However, findings also suggest that this central position coexists with an important role of the “common” citizen in shaping both the agenda of issues that are going to be covered but also the particular narratives and discourses associated to these issues. Furthermore, results also reflect how Twitter users were active in auditing the work of news media, criticising some of the approaches of their coverage that they considered to be negligent, unprofessional or unethical, performing as watchdogs of professional journalists and news media.