Online Journalism: Fall 2010


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Readings + Reactions for 10-29-10

As you struggle with code this week, here are two readings to remind you why you’re doing it:
Why Journalists Should Learn to Code
Be Not Afraid: Journalists Should Learn Code


Filed under: Readings + Reactions

6 Responses

  1. Susanne says:

    These articles pinpoint the exact reason I elected to take this class – if you want to be a journalist, have a job in this new era of online journalism, you must learn the basics. Learning coding is only the first step to the online world – and as we discussed in class, it becomes a language. You must speak this language in order to progress. In the first article, the point is made that learning coding gives journalists a great advantage because they have bridged the gap between the two very foundations the new world of journalism is founded upon – writing and coding. Coders haven’t gone to school to become journalists, just as the article says that many journalists stubbornly refuse to learn coding. So why not pick up both skills and be able to market yourself as a Code Speaking Journalist?
    Yeah, it’s tough to learn. They make mention that many journalists are “right-brain thinkers” while learning code takes the power of the “left-brain.” But while many journalists may have the creative, intuitive flow of the right brain, they must also be analytical and objective, characteristics of the right brain, to write any good story. The skills are there – but many journalists just remain too stubborn to use them.

  2. I agree with both of these articles that it is important for a journalist to know how to code; but there is also a lot of resistance. I’ve never been opposed to learning html, I’ve just never been given the opportunity until now (which is kind of sad!). I took required computer classes in high school and every single magazine journalism major requirement and this is the first time I’ve ever been introduced to basic coding.

    After just a week of having this knowledge my entire view of the web has changed. In almost every class we have to turn in stories with ideas of how to display it on the web. Every student usually has some crazy, ‘in a perfect world’ idea as to the absolute best web content for each story. None of us have any clue as to what sort of work actually goes into creating that content. Even in creating our site proposals I had concocted these crazy ideas. Now that I understand the process I’ve started to think about my site in an entirely different way.

    So I do believe a journalist should know basic coding; but I’m not as naive to say that the ‘old dogs’ will go for it. As for students, however, it should be required. It’s almost scary to think about all the journalism students that will be graduating and never got the short html intro lecture we got last Friday. It’s archaic that Columbia hasn’t made Online J a required class.

  3. Laura Nalin says:

    In this day and age you pretty much need to know this kind of stuff in the world of journalism, I’d say. Sure, it looked like Chinese to me at first, however as I continued to work with it I somewhat got the hang of it. I did get quite frustrated when I wasn’t able to get it immediately, so I can see how some people would be stubborn to learn to use it.
    I like that it was required as part of this course thought. It can never hurt to learn something new, and clearly this is beneficial in this new world of journalism that we are headed towards.

  4. I am all for learning code and html. I believe it is a nice skill to have but not necessary for a reporter. The articles say it is essential for a reporter to know code but if you just want to be a print reporter or a television reporter code is not relevant. I think it depends on the job you want. Learning to use code will be beneficial if you want to work with coding but learning spanish would be just as helpful for a journalist depending on what they are doing. The whole left and right side of the brain stuff was a little odd. The creative right side of the brain and the objective left side is what every good journalist posesses. Personally I look forward to learning more about coding I just dont fully agree with the articles on their stance of importance for journalists.

  5. Nick Myers says:

    I agree that journalists should learn coding and that’s one of the main reasons I took this class. It boggles my mind that journalism students at Columbia are not required to take one if not more online journalism classes or a class on coding. I realize, if I didn’t sign up for this class of my own decision- I’m well over my electives, and have my required journalism credits- I would have walked out of Columbia having done very little online journalism. In other classes, doing an audio or video story was an option and one could slip by typing up basic print stories in Word ’03 or some such. Oh I learned how to do links. Thanks. So really, I’m under prepared and will likely be eaten alive by some other person who went to a school that was on the ball and saw the writing on the wall. We shouldn’t even be turning in hard copy papers anymore. As it is, this is my first time ever seeing or getting a background in code- and as the article stated the difference between left brain and right brain functions, I am solidly on the right side. Math, science- nope, I have learning disabilities so that’s only going to happen with a tutor. Plus, I’m 30 and my high school didn’t have required computer classes, but then again, back then nobody I went to school with had cell phones and there was no social media. I just peeped broke-ass websites like Grunnen Rocks.
    I want to learn some code but it’s going to be a huge challenge for me.

  6. Chelsea says:

    I agree with the readings; I think learning coding is invaluable for journalists today. I don’t doubt that basic knowledge of coding and programming are already required of anyone applying for journalism jobs now. As difficult as it it to grasp at first, I feel grateful to be a student who grew up using computers learning, rather than a long-time journalist who might have a lot more trouble getting it. Learning even just the basics gives you a different outlook on the web and the way it works. Knowing what goes into producing online content gives us as journalists a more realistic view of what can be done, rather than waiting on others who are experts to tell us.

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