Students’ videos explore challenges, opportunities facing journalists in the digital age

Romenesko Misc.
The videos — produced by Columbia journalism students — are on a website that launched today. “Through these pieces we’ve been able to see for ourselves just how journalism is changing – and to assess our own roles in this new world,” says FastForwardNews.org editor-in-chief Elizabeth Davies. A release says: “The students focus on the front lines of change. They go behind the scenes with CNN’s new anchor Piers Morgan and get advice from 60 Minutes veteran Bob Simon (and give him some tips on how to use Twitter).” || Read the full release.

NEW YORK – May 9, 2011 – In response to mixed sentiments of expectation, excitement, and uncertainty, eighteen journalists nearing graduation from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, embarked on a mission to inquire into the future of their profession. The result is FastForwardNews.org – a collection of video stories exploring the challenges and opportunities facing journalists in the digital age. The website launches today.

“With just weeks to go until our graduation from journalism school, our thoughts have naturally turned towards the state of the industry in which we hope to build careers,” said Elizabeth Davies, one of the journalists and editor-in-chief of FastForwardNews. “Through these pieces we’ve been able to see for ourselves just how journalism is changing – and to assess our own roles in this new world.”

From a sports-writing robot to reporters re-inventing long-form journalism in the age of 140 characters, the students focus on the front lines of change. They go behind the scenes with CNN’s new anchor Piers Morgan and get advice from 60 Minutes veteran Bob Simon (and give him some tips on how to use Twitter).

Among the other stories in the video collection are:

* “Crowdfunding”: Why journalists are learning to say please
* Turning Numbers into Stories: From Wikileaks to investigative stories, the rise of computer-assisted reporting
* Churnalism: What it’s like to work on a farm, a so-called “content farm”
* Eyes into the Arab World: Are U.S. cable companies now ready for Al Jazeera English?
* Paying Strategies: Is The New York Times’ pay-wall a promising beginning or an ill-fated end?
* One Man Band-ism: A close-up look at the world of today’s multi-media journalist

“It can take a leap of faith to become a journalist these days,” said Betsy West, Associate Professor at Columbia’s Journalism School, in whose Video Storytelling Class the idea for the project was conceived and then executed. “These young journalists have found fascinating stories that explore the frontiers of their profession, and point the way to an exciting and promising future.”

The videos will be screened on Thursday, May 12, 2011 at 5.00 p.m. at the Stabile Student Center of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, 2950 Broadway, NY 10027. The event is open to the public.

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