- University of Miami
- Coral Gables, FL
- Personal Website
Joseph Treaster is experimenting with new ways for news and information to cross borders, to help the world solve its most crucial problems.
Joseph B. Treaster is a former reporter for The New York Times.
Beginning as a correspondent in Vietnam, Mr.Treaster has covered wars, politics, diplomacy, disasters, business and every day life throughout the world. His assignments for The Times and national magazines have taken him to Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean and throughout the United States.
A graduate of the University of Miami and Columbia University, Mr. Treaster learned French at the Sorbonne and Spanish at a language school in Guatemala. He has received more than a dozen journalistic awards, including three from the Overseas Press Club of America for work in Africa and Latin America. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Miami and a Master of Science degree from Columbia.
The Chair for Cross-Cultural Communication will advance the Knight Center for International Media’s stated belief in the role of effective communication in gaining a global understanding of the large issues facing our world. During the chair’s five- to seven-year term, s/he will work closely with center staff on its projects. The chair will be responsible for the publication and dissemination of knowledge acquired through interactions with faculty and stakeholders worldwide and for bringing these discussions to bear on journalism education at the University of Miami and elsewhere.
I. Produced a short documentary film entitled Fight for Freedom about the International Press Institute in Vienna and its work to protect and advance press freedom around the world. The film was introduced at the International Press Institute’s 2012 annual conference in Trinidad-Tobago. I was the executive producer. Professor Rafael Lima wrote the script, in consultation with me, and narrated the film. Mark Mocahbee, also of the University of Miami’s School of Communication, directed and edited the film along with me and Professor Lima. The institute uses the film in training programs and to build support for its work. “The film is magnificent,” said Alison Bethel, the executive director of the International Press Institute. It “inspires courage, tenacity and hope for a free media globally.” The film: http://www.freemedia.at/index.php?id=149
II. Created an experimental, cross-cultural, cross-discipline, multi-media education program for University of Miami students in the Galapagos Islands in a collaboration of the University of Miami’s School of Communication and its School of Music. Students learn advanced reporting, writing, critical thinking and story-telling in the islands where Charles Darwin began developing his theory of evolution. Specialists in Acoustic Ecology at the School of Music teach an appreciation and understanding of sound and how to capture the sounds of the Galapagos. They teach story telling with sound. The Communication School faculty – Professor Yves Colon and I – teach story-telling through reporting, interviewing, observation, photography, videography and writing. We combine the two approaches in lectures and field trips and weave the material together for publication. The writing of the students is published in TheMiamiPlanet.org, http://www.themiamiplanet.org/ under the heading, Galapagos Diary. The students produce a one-hour music CD called The Music of Darwin. The first CD, in final editing in the fall of 2012, is being distributed by Everglades Publishing, an independent music publishing house in Miami, and on The Miami Planet. In the 2013 iteration of the Galapagos program, the Music of Darwin will be integrated into student-written and illustrated articles that are published in The Miami Planet. Dr. Colby Leider of the School of Music and I are working on development of an application that will integrate sound into Internet text. As readers scroll through an article they will, without pausing to click on a link, hear, for example, the sounds of blue-footed boobies and sea lions and the voices of people quoted in the article. I delivered lectures on the multi-media Galapagos program in the fall of 2012 at John Carroll University near Cleveland and at Delaware Valley College near Philadelphia. I am scheduled to talk about our collaboration and the students’ work as the keynote speaker at the 2012 Symposium of the Southwest Education Council for Journalism & Mass Communication's in Round Rock, Tex., before the end of the year. During my appearances at other universities, I conduct tele-video press conferences on the environment with panels of experts for my students in Miami. The press conference from John Carroll University was on 40 years of environmental work on the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie. The Environmental Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication has invited me and Professor Leider to lead a panel discussion on our multi-media collaboration at the annual meeting of the organization in Washington, D.C., in August, 2013.
III. Worked in the development of The Miami Planet as a laboratory and teaching platform for multi-media journalism. The Planet focuses on the environment and provides an opportunity for students in all fields of multi-media journalism to publish work on an important subject to a worldwide audience. Most of the articles in the last year have been written by students who studied with me in Stockholm and in our multi-media, cross-discipline program in the Galapagos Islands. In Miami, about 50 students and half a dozen faculty members have been working on coverage of the 2012 election.
Our work is part of a national project that was created by Charlotte Grimes, the Knight Chair at Syracuse University, and involves more than a dozen universities around the country. The Miami Planet and online publications at the other universities will publish the articles on Election Day. The objective is to engage students in deadline multi-media newsgathering on a critically important theme and to give readers insights into the voting decisions of Americans across the land. In the past year I have focused on the pedagogic benefits of The Miami Planet and as we move forward plan to devote more energy to increasing readership and receiving financial support beyond the $35,000 start-up gift that I received from Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.
Question-and-Answer with Knight Chair
Teaching the profession: What do you do to bring the newsroom into your classroom? How do your students learn about current journalism practices?
I bring working journalists in new media and traditional journalism into my classroom in person and through tele-video press conferences that I’ve organized around the world, from Dubai to Doylestown, Pa. My classroom text is The New York Times online and in print. We frequently use TheMiamiPlanet.org and other places on the Internet in our discussions on writing, reporting, interviewing, frame of mind and the use of audio and visual tools in communicating across all platforms. We discuss my experiences in writing for the Huffington Post and other online outlets and how students can develop their own careers online. University of Miami students work on TheMiamiPlanet.org as web developers, designers, editors, writers, videographers and photographers. We study and practice the professional use of Twitter and Facebook.
Media Innovation: Do you think journalism programs should keep up with the quickening pace of change in the industry? How can they? What is your approach?
Our role at universities is to lead the transformation of journalism. At the University of Miami we are experimenting across a wide range of platforms. The Miami Planet, the environmental online publication that I edit, is one example. We are using it as a tool to enhance writing, reporting and multi-media techniques while providing insights to worldwide readers on developments in the environment. Our University of Miami print magazine and newspaper are constantly experimenting with new approaches and the same is true of our radio and television operations. We use social media in connection with our publications. I and several others in our School of Communication are working on experiments with colleagues in Music, Public Health and other disciplines. We are a communication laboratory and incubator. Traditional journalism is struggling for survival and new media is struggling to find itself and its audience. Keeping pace is not an issue for us. We are determined to lead. We have a new dean and we share his vision for leadership.