Fresh Powder: Women in tech, the future of journalism education, and a new app called Meerkat

This week, in Journalistic News:

We celebrate awesome ladies in journalism and technology.

International Women’s Day was this past Sunday, so let’s all take a moment to appreciate some of the coolest women in the journalism and tech industry (according tojournalism.co.uk).

Included in this list are the editor-in-chief of the Guardian, an editor at BBC News, the director of Eyewitness Media Hub, and a Google Ventures partner who overseesHour of Code, which aims not only to make learning about computer science more accessible, but to also encourage more women into the field.  Most notably on the list (in SNO’s opinion) is Sarah Koenig, host and executive producer of NPR’s podcast Serial, which is something we frequently geek about here at SNO headquarters. We encourage you all to encourage the young women in your programs to stay involved in journalism, and give them opportunities to develop technical and computer skills; there is a glaring gender gap in the computer science field (only about 20% of computer programmers are women, according to the Smithsonian.)

The future of journalism education is up for discussion.

“A digital-first journalism school would … [be] re-created every semester through active engagement with professionals, incubators, accelerators and faculty to design boot camps, lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips, and self-taught tutorials designed exclusively to meet the learning needs of students now.” –Knight Foundation’s Journalism Education conclusions and recommendations report

As you can probably infer from the quote above, the Knight Foundation recently released a report discussing the future of journalism education; journalism professor Mindy McAdams gives a thorough aggregation of the report, as well as some of her own opinions.  In the digital age, writing for the web is becoming more that just a trend for journalists; it’s a necessity.  McAdams argues that, in higher education journalism programs especially, educators need to be open to a hybrid method; though they may be more “classically-trained,” they need to not only have at least a basic understanding of popular tech tools, but must incorporate digital tools and reporting into their curriculum.  Most educators believe a sweet spot between traditional journalism and digital journalism does exist, and that it it’s necessary to be teaching the fundamentals of both.  Digital journalism incorporates a lot more business and marketing than traditional journalism is used to, so educators would benefit from both learning more business language and strategy, as well as teaching it, as the intersection between the two is almost inescapable.  McAdams believes in digital-first instruction, in order to create digital-first journalists; which, in 2015, is truly the way things should be.

Meerkat and Live Tweeting.

Something we always preach to members of the SNO Network is the importance of live tweeting; whether it be a sporting event, an impromptu school evacuation, or a pep rally, utilizing your publication’s Twitter to give real-time updates can be a great way to show your student body that you literally always know what’s going on, and will break the news as soon as humanly possibly.  That’s why the new live streaming app for Twitter called Meerkat is a true blessing for scholastic journalism programs.

With Meerkat you can schedule streams, automatically connects all of your Twitter followers with your live streaming videos through Twitter, and you can even see comments on the screen as you film your live stream. This article points out a few of the design flaws of the app, but, if you are looking for an easy way to stream right from your smartphone, this seems to be a great way to do it.

Avoiding Scandal. (No, not the TV Show– you should definitely not avoid that.  It’s amazing.)

If we learned anything from HBO’s The Newsroom, (or Bill O’Reilly,) it’s the importance of fact checking breaking news stories.  The international journalists’ network compiled a list of their best tips to de-bunking breaking news that isn’t actually “news.”

These things also happened this week:

  • Apple had a keynote on Monday, where they unveiled the thinnest laptop ever created, available in three colors that will perfectly correspond with your iPhone.  Sure, there’s only one port on this new, fragile little MacBook, but you’ll look so great while using it, you might not even notice!
  • While we’re on the subject, HBO announced a currently Apple-exclusive new streaming service to be released in April; if you’re not excited about the timing of that release, you’re definitely not a Game of Thrones fan.
  • Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson probably won the award for “Best Movie Announcement of All Time.”