Breiner Launches First Online Course of the ICFJ-Sponsored Digital Journalism Center

Oct 142008

Guadalajara, Mexico -- The first online course offering of the ICFJ-sponsored Digital Journalism Center for Latin America began Oct. 12 with 50 students enrolled from 10 countries.

The Digital Journalism Center is a joint project of the International Center for Journalists and the University of Guadalajara.

The five-week online course, entirely in Spanish, will be followed by three days of in-person training in December in Guadalajara.

Knight Fellow James Breiner is director of the center and prepared the first course, which is aimed at editors and is called “The Challenge and Opportunities of Digital Journalism.”

Countries represented are: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico (nine states), Peru and the U.S.

The editors in the course were selected on the basis of their newsroom responsibilities and samples of the work their teams had produced. There is a waiting list of 70.

“My original intent was to offer the course to 25 editors, but with the level of response, I decided to create two classes,” Breiner said. “The strong response doesn't surprise me, based on the meetings I've had here in Mexico with editors and news directors. There is a big demand for this kind of training.”

The five weeks of online training requires participants to read articles and view videos and make commentaries. The participants also are required to do some original research and write reports. In one exercise, they will evaluate and grade various Latin American websites on a series of a dozen multimedia characteristics. In the final project of the course, they will create a plan for integrating multimedia operations into a traditional newsroom.

The three days of in-person training in December will consist of training in hands-on technical skills by three experts in the field: Hiram Enriquez, director of programming, Yahoo Hispanic Americas; Hilda Garcia, multimedia journalism expert and former editor of CNNExpansió; and Pedro Armendares, executive director for the Center for Investigative Journalists in Mexico.