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Rosental C. Alves

Knight Chair in International Journalism
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.

Grant Background

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.

Recent Activities

Created the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) program in the world specializing in journalism education and offered five courses, during the year, reaching more than 16,000 participants from 150 countries. 

Hosted the 15th International Symposium on Online Journalism and the 6th Ibero American Colloquium on Digital Journalism, attracting to Austin journalists, media executives and scholars from around the world to discuss the future of news in the digital age. 

Made 16 presentations or lectures in nine countries, including keynote speeches in international conferences, mostly on the impact of digital technologies on journalism and journalism education, and taught a hybrid (face-to-face and online) course on Entrepreneurial Journalism for Portuguese journalists and graduate students of Lisbon’s University Nova de Lisboa.

Question-and-Answer with Knight Chair

Name one experiment or idea (a tool, an approach, a book) in journalism, journalism education or media innovation that is “out there” -- pushing the frontier. Why do you think that project is interesting? Add detail if you plan to incorporate it in your teaching .

I would like to name my own experiment of Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs in journalism, launched in October 2012. For the first time, the idea of MOOCs was used to disseminate journalism skills and news literacy, pushing the frontier of journalism education beyond the confines of classrooms and traditional online courses. The first five MOOCs launched from the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas have shown that it is possible to democratize the access to quality journalism education online in a sustainable and effective way. The experiment has also broken new ground for the use of digital tools for teaching that can be used in my regular classes.

We define the “teaching hospital” model of journalism education as a system of learning by doing where students, scholars and professionals fully engage with the community they are serving by using innovative tools, techniques and informed research. Do you agree with that definition? If so, how should journalism schools seek to add community engagement and experimentation to the kind of journalism they now produce ?

Yes, I agree with this definition of the “teaching hospital” model of journalism education. Although many good schools of journalism have been using the essence of this concept for decades, the high costs of reaching out to audiences through traditional media formats have limited its potential. The Digital Revolution has reduced those costs dramatically, clearing the way for schools of journalism to create their own media operations in ways that actually resemble the teaching hospitals where MDs do their residence, a fundamental stage of their education. These “teaching newsrooms” should be carefully organized not only as learning environments, but also as experimentation laboratories for innovative initiatives to explore the use of digital technologies to improve the quality of journalism, especially in its core goals to inform and engage communities.