As far as journalism goes, CNN’s Victor Hernandez was the star of the just completed social networking conference known as SoCon.
SoCon11 was sponsored by Kennessaw State University’s Center for Sustainable Journalism. Despite a journalism center hosting what it billed as the southeast’s premier social networking conference, journalism has never been a central focus best I can tell. The majority of attendees seem interested in social media marketing, public relations, advertising, entrepreneurship, startups and business ventures (big and small). So, it was refreshing to have a journalist from one of the biggest distributors of television news in our own backyard take center stage.
Hernandez was a member of the keynote panel, and delivered a breakout session about “platform agnostic” journalistic storytelling. I found myself nodding in agreement with what he said more often than not. As I tweeted, I wish that all of my News Editing students could hear Hernandez’ talk. They will have the opportunity to do so when he is a speaker at the ICONN conference taking place in Athens in March (rescheduled from January because of the snowpocalypse).
Hernandez reaffirmed that Grady’s journalism department is on the right track with its curriculum. His philosophy about the changing nature of reporting the news is what we preach in News Editing. The tools his “All Platform Journalists (APJ)’s” use are what we teach. As a journalism instructor, it’s nice to know we’re so in tune and aligned with industry practices. As journalism changes, we change with it.
A few highlights from Hernandez’ session taken mostly from my live-tweets:
-70% of the “platform agnostic” story content produced by Hernandez’ team of “All Platform Journalists” (APJ’s) is aimed at digital.
-Hernandez’ reporters use Kodak zi8 cameras (the exact same as we use in News Editing at Grady)
-Hernandez said that journalists need to know Final Cut Pro, calling it the gold standard of video editing software used in journalism today. “It is an amazing skill to have and will pay back in spades,” Hernandez said. All journalism jobs will require Final Cut skills in the future, Hernandez said. (We teach the very basics of Final Cut in the News Editing course through Digital Literacy videos).
-Social networks and smartphones are “journo’s bff’s” according to Hernandez. “I can’t say enough about (the importance of) social networks,” he said (talk about knowing your audience haha).
-Journalists should come up with different ways to tell stories and avoid the “zombie effect” of going through the motions to tell the same tired-old cliched story that everyone else is offering. (We stress the fundamentals of journalism as storytelling at Grady).
In my department, Mark Johnson gets all the credit for moving Grady forward with its teaching and technology. He advocated the Kodak zi8’s and teaching of Final Cut and designed an entire digital literacy series of “how-to” videos that we’ve incorporated into the redesigned News Editing course.
Mark is a forward-thinking evangelical journalism educator, just as Hernandez is a forward-thinking evangelical journalism practitioner. Both deserve kudos and respect for charting a new path for journalists in the age of social media.