Rosental C. Alves
- University of Texas at Austin
- Austin, Texas
- Personal Website
Rosental Alves and his Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas are helping to establish self-sustaining, professional journalism groups and pioneering e-learning throughout the Americas.
Rosental Alves, veteran Brazilian reporter and editor, directs the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas.
The department of journalism seeks a Knight Chair focusing on international journalism to provide innovative approaches to news reporting. By linking an international dimension with the basics of good writing and editing, the goal is to enhance understanding by students of the societies and cultures in which they likely will find themselves working.
Additional Endowment Anticipated Outcomes: The additional endowment income will help the Knight Chair establish stronger connections with journalism professionals, develop practical research projects on various aspects of international journalism, incorporate digital technology into the work of the Knight Chair, and increase the program's capacity to help journalism students and working journalists to become more knowledgeable, more effective and better prepared for their work in the field.
Professor Rosental Alves directs the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, and he also holds a UNESCO Chair in Communication. He is the president of the board of directors of ORBICOM, the Montreal-based global network of UNESCO Chairs in Communication that unites 28 chairs and 250 members from 75 countries.
Professor Alves organized the 12th International Symposium on Online Journalism with attendees from the United States and several countries in Europe, Latin America and Africa.
Professor Alves developed a class called “Entrepreneurial Journalism” dealing with the development of innovative news enterprises.
He also achieved important milestones at the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, incuding $611,000 in fundraising, 200,000 downloads of journalism e-books, 1 million page-views and 5,000 journalists trained via its innovative e-learning platform.
Question-and-Answer with Knight Chair
What disturbs you most about journalism today? What excites you most?
The disruptive effects of the Digital Revolution on the journalism models that worked well during the Industrial Era disturb Professor Alves, as he contends they create a false perception of devaluation of the role of journalists in the new media ecosystem. What excites him most are the huge opportunities that digital technologies are creating to strengthening even more the role of journalism in a democratic society, especially through new ways to engage with audiences and offer an unprecedented level of access to information. It is clear from this disturbance and this excitement that we are in a transitional period, in the midst of a long and profound communication revolution, and it is imperative to adapt and bring the core values of journalism to the new media ecosystem.
Should students be taught not just how to inform communities, but to engage them?
Journalism education has the obligation of taking advantage of the many opportunities created by the transformative effects of the Digital Revolution in the media landscape, according to Professor Alves. One of the main transformations is precisely the destruction of the high entry barriers that prevented the existence of more media enterprises in the previous media ecosystem. Schools of journalism are on the right track when they become community content providers, in the same way medical schools have hospitals to offer residence for the medical doctors they are forming.
“It is a win-win game,” he said. “We can now practice what we teach/learn and at the same time serve communities with information and civic engagement that equip them to participate more effectively in a democratic society.”
Does teaching at your school include teaching through mobile devices? How integrated are social media and emerging technologies in your teaching?
Professor Alves believes the time when teaching journalism was just recycling or reciting best practices is gone. In the transformative time we leave, innovation and entrepreneurism must be in the center of journalism education, without prejudice to the basic elements such as accuracy, fairness and ethical values.
“Our j-school at the University of Texas at Austin has adopted a new curriculum that emphasizes the use of digital technologies to enhance the potential of journalism in the emerging new media ecosystem,” Professor Alves said. “The Knight Chair at the University of Texas has been a pioneer in that effort, since I created a course on online journalism in 1997-1998, the first at UT Austin and one of the first in the country. And the Knight Chair has contributed again this year, through another innovative course on ‘Entrepreneurial Journalism.’ Social media and the use of mobile devices by journalists have also been included in our multiple courses that teach future journalists how to take the best advantage of emerging digital technologies.”