Journalism students gain experience in labs

Journalism students gain experience in labs

Students work on assignments during a journalism lab. CW | Shelby Akin

For a journalism major experience is everything, whether that be through writing, interviewing or lectures in the classroom. The required class Editing and Digital Production, or JN 312, has recently made some changes in order to provide students with more real-world experience. Journalism department chair Wilson Lowrey said this class is the main editing class for journalism students and it teaches everything but reporting and writing.

“Students are learning how to shape up their stories, style and grammar,” Lowrey said. “They learn how to cut stories, do design with visuals on video and social media and what kinds of stories to put on social media.”

To give students this type of learning environment, JN 312 now provides a lab for students where they can edit content on the website for the University’s commercial television station WVUA 23.

“In the past we didn’t have a formal breakout lab,” Lowrey said. “I used to teach it, so I would get students in a lab, but it didn’t have that real-world element. The goal is to integrate students in a professional media environment.”

Meredith Cummings is the instructor and director of Alabama Scholastic Press Association, Multicultural Journalism Workshop, and National Elementary Schools Press Association. She also teaches JN 312 and said the skills students will learn in this class translate well outside of school.

“Students will get the tools they need to go into the job market,” Cummings said. “They’ll be able to take things they learn in class and translate it to a professional media operation, but also they learn how to think like an editor as opposed to a writer or reporter. These skills translate to every field and even other classes.”

In order to keep the goal in mind of giving journalism students more opportunities, the department will have a new class next semester to help students in both the sports and film fields. Lowrey said Lars Anderson and Michael Bruce will be in charge of the class, two faculty members at the University with years of background and experience in their respective fields.

“In the spring, we have a new class that will learn how to produce lengthy sports features for WVUA TV,” Lowrey said. “The class will include students from both journalism and TCF majors with journalism writing and TCF doing the film. We’re always looking for ways to give students real-world experience.”

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