MEGHAN: Howdy Ags and welcome back to “Write Right.” I’m your host, Meghan Wall, and in today’s episode we are discussing new media in journalism with Dale Rice, the director of journalism studies here at Texas A&M. Rice comes from a background of over 35 years in the news business, and in that time he has seen the industry turn from traditional print journalism to an emphasis on new media technology. His goal is to prepare journalism students to enter the job market with all of the skills they need, including the ability to produce new media. Mr. Rice described to me exactly how he plans to do that…
DALE RICE: I was one of six professors in the College of Liberal Arts who received a summer technology grant and mine is to bring new media components into the advanced media writing course. So what we are doing this summer is buying video cameras and digital voice recorders because the students in addition to writing the stories will have to turn some of their interviews into audio podcasts just such as you are doing and into videos to put online. And so we’ll be spending a lot of time talking about the kind of, I guess you would say, integrated methods of storytelling how these can all work together the printed story, the video, and the audio podcast because stories will require all three.
MEGHAN: How will learning these skills help improve student’s chances for success in the job market?
DALE RICE: If there’s a way that people that come through the journalism minor at A&M are going to be able to distinguish themselves from people who are going through a lot of other traditional journalism programs is that a couple of years from now everybody who comes out of this program is going to be able to say they have a firm background in all of the approaches to new media. So they’re going to be able to say, ‘hey I can write your story, I can shoot and edit the video to go online with it, and I can produce an audio podcast of one of my really good interviews to accompany it as well’ so that you go into a newsroom as a multifaceted, multitalented, journalist who can do a lot more than just report and write a story.
MEGHAN: How can new media help add dimension to a printed story?
DALE RICE: There are multiple ways to tell a story, and that’s what I want to do in the advanced multimedia writing class, to get people to understand that no we don’t want a 90 second version of your printed story if anybody’s already read that why go watch it? Give us something different. And it’s the same thing with the audio podcast, it’s the ability to take a wonderful wonderful interview you’ve had with somebody, in which you’ve only used 10 or 15 seconds worth of quotes and pull the best two minutes of that out and put it on as an audio podcast. That’s what I see is all of these things enhancing each other so that each one can work independently, but the sum of the parts is really wonderful if you look at it and say well if I read the story, watch the video, and listen to the podcast then I have this huge picture. In a way what would be the purpose of having an audio podcast and a video of the same thing, two 90 second versions of it lets say, you want to say how do you enhance the package? And that’s very different than how do you enhance the story. You’re telling a story, you’re doing a printed story, right? So you can’t any longer think of your work as a printed story; you have to start thinking of your work as a package story: one component is the printed story, one component is the video, one component is the audio.
MEGHAN: Students interested in learning more about using new media can take Dale Rice’s Advanced Media Writing course where they will not only learn to write and edit stories on a deadline but also how to record audio and video, and edit and produce podcasts to go online. This is our final episode with Dale Rice on journalism; if you would like to check out other episodes featuring Mr. Rice, check out our website at writingcenter.tamu.edu. Thanks for listening to this episode of “Write Right,” we’ll see you next time.