June 10, 2015 by Paige Levin
Photo: A civic hacker who worked on the public transportation challenge at Miami's National Day of Civic Hacking event takes input and questions from other hackers on his project. Credit: Paige Levin.
If a hurricane struck this instant, would you know where to find shelter?
On June 6, Miami civic hackers dealt with that problem by developing a text messaging system designed to help people get information about shelters in Miami-Dade County. It was one of many projects developed at Miami’s third annual National Day of Civic Hacking event.
This year’s theme: principles for 21st century government.
“Our elected leaders get it,” said Rebekah Monson, co-captain of Code for Miami. “They understand that we want to work with them, and we want to make this place better.”
Knight Foundation sponsored Miami’s Day of Civic Hacking at The Lab Miami for the third year in a row; Web developers, designers, students and officials from the Florida Department of Financial Services came together to rethink civic issues.
June 30, 2015 by Paige Levin
Photo: Government Influence and Journalism panel at the Digital Media Round Table in Miami.. Credit: Paige Levin.
Media professionals from across the country debated big issues on the future of journalism last week in a small room at the Wolfsonian-Florida International University in Miami Beach.
The Digital Future Forum’s Mobile Journalism Roundtable, sponsored by Univision and Knight Foundation, covered everything from censorship, to ethics, digital media and hacking in just five hours. Digital Future Forum is a group that wants to improve the digital future of media, so each of the panels was a fast-moving, open discussion.
“We wanted to make something small but powerful,” Digital Future Forum co-founder Tim Pool said. “A ton of very powerful people showed up, and I was honored and flabbergasted that all of these amazing people wanted to come and hear what all of us had to say.”
The roundtable, hosted by journalist Bob Berkowitz, included representatives from the Associated Press, CNN, Florida International University, Fusion, the Miami Herald and Univision.
July 31, 2015 by Paige Levin
One week into college, my journalism professor gave a lecture on what journalists need to know—except he didn’t really explain anything. He just complained about the fact that journalists were expected to know too much.
That week, I changed my major three times, looking for something that encompassed every skill needed in the media industry. I’ll save prospective students the trouble: It doesn’t exist.
That’s because the industry changes too quickly for any curriculum to keep up. I realized that I needed to figure it out for myself.
As a journalism student, I’ve been searching for a definitive answer for the past three years. I’ve consulted media professionals to gather the building blocks of a journalism career in the digital age. I’m talking about more than just bread-and-butter reporting. One conclusion surprised me: We don’t need to be well versed in every single app and every line of code. But we do need to understand the bigger picture.
Here’s what I believe today’s journalism students need to know (in no particular order):
1. Learn basic coding: A little code goes a long way. In a phone interview, Ted Spiker, the journalism department chair at the University of Florida where I am a student, said it is debatable if full-blown coding is for everyone, but I think it brings considerable advantages. If you understand what’s under the hood of technology, you can be more effective and efficient. Knight Foundation’s Eric Newton said, “Basic coding is the grammar of the 21st century.” Those fundamentals include some ability to hack your way through basic HTML, to understand embed codes and to be able to navigate a content-management system. Start here.