New journalism course being offered at BU

File photo. The new journalism course “will cover a wide range of topics” and “a good mix of theoretical and practical work.” (photosteve / Flickr)

Looking for a unique course to take during the Spring session at BU? Then look no further than Journalism II: Introduction to Electronic Media.

Offered during the first term, from May 6th to 27th, the course will cover a wide range of topics. Instructor Dr. Glen Gatin says he will try to have a good mix of theoretical and practical work.

“What I’m mostly interested in is the ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and social media aspects – the new style of journalism. I’d like to set that in the context of traditional journalism and some of the traditional theories.”  He adds, “At the same time I want it to be a very practical class so people will have an opportunity to explore some of the new tools of ICT.”

Just a few of the topics to be covered include blogs, micro-blogging (e.g. Twitter), and other online tools such as RSS reader accounts, collaborative word processing applications, and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

While the course would certainly be a good start for those looking to enter the field of journalism or communications, Gatin says the skills taught are applicable no matter where you go.

“I think other people would certainly benefit: that’s one of the main reasons this was of interest, because they are a set of skills all people need to be participants in society and a democracy. You have to be able to find news information – accurate, good information – and evaluate the worth of that information, so I attempt to introduce quite a bit of critical thinking skills.”

These skills include evaluating web resources, critiquing news stories, and finding reliable sources. He notes there will also be an examination of WikiLeaks and process journalism.

“WikiLeaks of course is one of the big fascinations with online journalism these days. How are they able to use their whole system of anonymous resources? How do they use resources from whistleblowers without exposing the whistleblowers?” Gatin adds some of these techniques will be applied in class. “I hope to introduce people to the skills of doing things like encrypted files, and sharing an encrypted file system so you can share with sources in confidence.”

Gatin says he is excited to be able to teach this course. “My background is in media studies, particularly social media, and ICT – so I’m very pleased with the opportunity to put this forward.”

Students can register for courses in the Spring and Summer sessions starting on March 13th.

Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 23, March 5, 2013.