The Convergence Newsletter


From Newsplex at the University of South Carolina
Vol. 1 No. 8 (March 2, 2004)

Exploring the Meaning of Media Convergence
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide an editorially neutral forum for discussion of the theoretical and professional meaning of media convergence.

We welcome articles on any topic directly related to media convergence, including academic research or information about convergence experiences in your newsroom. We also welcome information about conferences, publications and related links.

Holly Fisher

Feature Articles

            Newsplex Fellow Explores Convergence

            Upcoming Newsplex Conferences/Events

Newsplex News

Conference Information
            AEJMC Southeast Colloquium
            Annual Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference

2004 International Symposium on Online Journalism
            Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek's 2004 Interactive Media Conference & Trade Show

            AEJMC Call for Papers
            Convergence Defined


Affiliate Profile
            University of South Carolina

---------------Feature Articles
Newsplex Fellow Explores Convergence
By Holly Fisher, Editor, The Convergence Newsletter, and USC graduate student


*Editor’s Note: This interview with Fabiana Zanni was conducted via e-mail and also incorporates her comments from a video project she did at the completion of her fellowship.

Brazilian journalist Fabiana Zanni visited Newsplex for almost three weeks last year. Much to her surprise, she discovered journalists around the world face the same issues she and her colleagues in Brazil are dealing with on a daily basis.


“I never had imagined how two different companies, in different continents, speaking different languages can have the same kind of problems and challenges about convergence,” she says.

Zanni was an Ifra Newsplex Fellow, a program that offers media professionals and academic faculty members an opportunity to observe and participate in training and research under way at Newsplex.

Fellows receive special instruction in multiple media newshandling techniques and are integrated as trainers into professional training sessions and investigators in research projects. Participants return to their parent organizations fully versed in the cutting-edge newsroom techniques being developed at Newsplex and able to share this information with their peers and students.


Zanni wanted a chance to see how other media companies were incorporating convergence into their work, so she traveled to South Carolina and spent time learning convergence at Newsplex. “Besides knowing that Newsplex would have a lot of information about convergence, I wanted to get in touch with the practices, experiences and difficulties faced by other media companies around the world,” she says.


From her time at Newsplex, Zanni said she was reminded that journalism goes hand in hand with team work, cooperation, breaking barriers and having fun. She says one of the great experiences she gleaned from being a Fellow was rediscovering the pleasure of doing her job.


And her Newsplex experiences only reinforced her belief that traditional media faces the challenge of rethinking its format and focus. More and more “traditional” readers are looking to new media formats for their news and information, Zanni says. “We’re living in a period of transition, when there are still a lot of readers that have traditional media as their major font of news. But what kind of news will be interesting for these readers in the coming years if they have read it all on the Internet? What kind of information will they look for in the newspapers every morning? It doesn’t mean that they are putting newspapers and magazines away, but they are certainly looking for new and relevant content, not just the same things they saw one day before on other mediums,” Zanni says.


Zanni has been thinking about ways to communicate with new media since the mid-1990s when she began working in Web publishing and development. She created and implemented one of the largest Web sites for women in Brazil, Paralela. She also participated in the design, creation, maintenance and improvement of the first sites for several magazines in Brazil, such as Veja, Playboy, Cosmopolitan and Elle. Previously she traveled the country as a reporter and editor for a travel guide. Zanni also has written for various magazines since 1993. She recently developed a Web site for Abril Publishing Company ( and now works for the company as an editor.


“My company produces content in different mediums: print, Web and video,” she says. “In my area, we try to put these contents together and present them in a new and different way. We’re also responsible for spreading new mentalities and practices concerning new media and convergence.” In addition, Zanni recently began teaching about new technologies for communication at Cásper Líbero University. Lately, she has been reading about the relationship between children and computers and intends to develop a research project on the subject.


Contributing to her desire to learn about convergence in other cultures, Zanni observed 10 journalists from Manchester as they immersed themselves in discussions about how to do their jobs using convergence. “They knew they had to move from a media-centric production to an audience-centric perspective,” she says. Their main goals were determining how to meet audience demands, crafting clever story production and overcoming a fear of using new technology. “So, besides a lot of theory and practical activities, we even had to learn a new kind of mathematics, where adding one plus one plus one plus one can make five, or how merging print publications with broadcast, Internet and mobile technology can result in a different product, or a stronger brand.”


A key theme during her fellowship, Zanni says, was that convergence is more than fancy gadgets and hi-tech computers. It’s about good journalism and a change in thinking. “One of the things that caught my attention was that the Newsplex team always was saying that convergence is not attached to impressive facilities and hi-tech gadgets,” she says. “All these things are useless if you don’t do something with them. And that’s when the need for a big cultural change comes in.”


Fellowships are one-week to one-month in duration. Full-time employees of the media companies and full-time university faculty are eligible for the program. Fellows are selected by the Newsplex staff based on suitability of background, interests and accomplishments in convergent media, new media and journalism.  The nominating organization is responsible for paying salary and travel expenses of Fellows selected for the program.


Nominations for 2004 fellowships currently are being accepted. Nominations may be made by letter or e-mail to Kerry Northrup, Director, Ifra Newsplex at the University of South Carolina, SCETV Telecommunications Center, 1041 George Rogers Blvd., Columbia, SC, 29201 or to  For further information on the Newsplex Fellows program, please contact Julie Nichols, Newsplex Projects Director, at

Upcoming Newsplex Conferences/Events

----------Newsplex Summer Seminars

Teaching & Researching in Convergent Media

May 17-21 and May 24-28, 2004


The College of Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina is pleased to announce that funding has been obtained to underwrite the cost of faculty attendance at the 2004 Newsplex Summer Seminars on Teaching and Research in Convergent Media.  The cost of the five-day sessions has been reduced to $500 per person (compared to a cost of $1,245 per person for the 2003 Newsplex Summer Seminars). This fee includes tuition, supplies, and lunches, but does not include hotel.


These week-long seminars are designed to provide college faculty with advanced training in converged media operations and journalistic practices that they can adapt to their individual programs. Through an intensive set of seminars and hands-on workshops, participants will learn and practice skills essential to working in a converged media environment, as well as studying the process of teaching and conducting research in a converged media environment. All enrollees completing the program will receive a Newsplex training certificate.


Preliminary Schedule:

Sunday: Introduction to the converged classroom; Introduction to Newsplex; Overview of emerging technologies; Introduction to wireless journalism; Theoretical perspectives on convergence

Monday: Story-building; The news resourcer; Newsflow management; Managing converged newsrooms; Graphics and Web design

Tuesday: Cross-training (print for broadcasting & broadcasting for print); Online journalistic techniques; Digital photography and videography

Wednesday: Roles training and exercises; Teaching in a converged newsroom; Business issues: legal and marketing

Thursday: Research and the converged newsroom; Problems in media convergence; Adapting your curriculum to convergence; Seminar summary

For more information, e-mail Augie Grant, Newsplex Academic Liaison, at To register online, visit the Newsplex academic Web site at


----------Call for Papers:  A Conference on The Digital Revolution: The Impact of Digital Media and Information Technologies

College of Mass Communications and Information Studies 

University of South Carolina

October 14-16, 2004, Columbia, S.C.


Digital technologies have precipitated a revolution in media and information technologies over the past decade.  From digital libraries and archives to video, music and telephony, virtually all media have been impacted by increased capabilities in information storage, processing, transmission and retrieval.  Media systems have been similarly impacted, as traditional media processes including journalism, advertising, public relations and libraries have been forced to evolve to incorporate the capabilities offered by the Internet and digital computing and storage technologies. The purpose of this conference is to provide a scholarly examination of the attributes and implications of the digital revolution, including discussions of social influences, media practices, integrated information systems, cultural issues, legal implications, information needs and effects upon consumers. A showcase of convergent media practices will run concurrent with the academic conference.

This forum addressing the digital revolution was specifically created to provide the opportunity for us to examine commonalties across these media. Paper submissions may address theoretical or practical examinations of digital photography, video, information archives, telephony, consumer electronics and information infrastructure.


Faculty and graduate students are invited to submit in one or more of three categories:

*Completed papers

*Proposals or abstracts of papers in progress

*Proposals for panels

Submissions may address practical, theoretical, phenomenological, critical and/or empirical approaches to digital media and information technologies.  All submissions will be reviewed by a jury that will consider: 1) relevance to the conference theme, 2) the quality of the contribution, and 3) overall contribution to the field.


The conference is sponsored by the newly merged College of Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and Newsplex, an advanced micro-newsroom training and research facility dedicated to news presentation techniques emerging from the convergence of print, broadcast and online media. Newsplex is a joint project of the College and Ifra. 


Papers, proposals, abstracts, and panel proposals should be addressed to: Augie Grant, Conference Chair Digital Revolution Conference, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, SC 29208 or via e-mail:


Submission guidelines:

Electronic submissions (Word or RTF attachments) are encouraged (send to

Paper copies may be submitted:  five paper copies of the submission should be mailed.

A detachable cover page should be included with the title of the paper or panel and complete names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of the authors. For electronic submissions, the cover page should be in a separate file.

Submission deadline (postmark) is June 15, 2004.  All submissions will be jury-reviewed with notification to authors and             organizers on or before July 31, 2004.


----------Call for Presentations:

A Showcase of Digital Media and Information Projects and Practices

College of Mass Communications and Information Studies 

University of South Carolina

October 14-16, 2004 Columbia, S.C.


The digital revolution in media and information technologies has created new opportunities and challenges in the production of all forms of media content, including news, advertising, entertainment and media archives. The purpose of this showcase of digital media and information projects and practices is to provide a venue for scholars and professionals experimenting with digital media and information technologies to demonstrate their systems, processes, experiments and innovations.


This showcase is the demonstration component of The Digital Revolution: The Impact of Digital Media and Information Technologies, an academic conference exploring practical, theoretical, phenomenological, critical and/or empirical approaches to digital media and information technologies. 

Faculty and graduate students are invited to submit in one or more of four categories:

*Hands-on demonstrations of media and information projects and practices

*PowerPoint, video or other multimedia presentations of digital media projects or practices

*Software demonstrations

*Case studies (poster format with demonstration)

(Note:  If you wish to submit a paper or abstract, you are encouraged to respond to the Call for Papers for the academic conference.  That Call may be viewed on the conference Web site at


Submissions will be reviewed by a jury that will consider: 1) relevance to the theme of media convergence, 2) the degree of innovation, and 3) the overall contribution to the field.


The conference is sponsored by the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina, and Newsplex, an advanced micro-newsroom training and research facility dedicated to news presentation techniques emerging from the convergence of print, broadcast and online media. Newsplex is a joint project of the College and Ifra. 


For registration and further information about the academic conference or this showcase, visit the conference Web site at: Proposals and questions about the showcase should be submitted electronically to or mailed to: Augie Grant, Conference Chair, Digital Revolution Conference, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, Carolina Coliseum, Columbia, SC  29208


Proposals must include a brief description of the project or demonstration; a list of equipment needed to conduct the demonstration; names of the presenter(s); and contact information (e-mail, telephone number and address). Submission deadline (postmark) is June 15, 2004. All submissions will be jury-reviewed on or before July 31, 2004.


---------------Newsplex News

Students cover South Carolina Primary in new way

By Holly Fisher, Editor, The Convergence Newsletter, and USC graduate student


Student journalists at the University of South Carolina traded in notebooks and pens for camera-equipped cellular phones to cover the state’s Democratic presidential primary Feb. 3. The assignment: cover as much ground as possible, gathering snippets of news and information to be posted on a Web site. It was the old-school “man on the street” assignment but with a new technological edge.


A partnership of Newsplex and Cingular Wireless, this project – called Wireless Election Connection – was a perfect opportunity for about 40 print and broadcast students to get a taste of covering a major news story while showing how convergence can be applied to even the biggest story of the day. Cingular provided second-generation mobile imaging phones so students could capture photos and then send a paragraph or two of explanation back to the Newsplex office via e-mail. After quick editing, the images and text were uploaded instantly to a mobile Web log – or moblog – at, which is still available for viewing.


Because students were out in the field, professionals from USC and Newsplex were editing the information and determining placement on the site. Randy Covington, director of advancement and an instructor for the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies, was the news flow editor overseeing three rotating story builders. Also helping with the project was Newsplex staffer Geoff LoCicero, who had the role of lead newsresourcer. He looked for additional news tips, information and Web sites that story builders could link to within the text students provided.


“This is a new form of journalism. It’s something that sprouted from the bottom up,” Covington says. “There are blogs all over the place but traditional media has been slow to come around.” Newsplex Director Kerry Northrup says this kind of multi-media coverage could greatly enhance newspaper and TV coverage of events. The moblog is not meant as a replacement but as a way to add value to more traditional methods of reporting.


In the late morning of Primary Day, Covington was divvying up assignments among four journalists. He sends two to downtown Columbia where media outlets from the state and the nation are covering the story. He sends two others to the small, rural town of North, about 25 minutes outside the city. “When you’re in North, look for something visually that captures your attention. If you do your interview on the street, look at where you shoot (the photograph),” Covington explains. “Put a little more effort into the shoot if there is something to frame it. Take an extra five minutes.”


It’s a lesson in thinking visually while getting the news items and the pieces of color that can turn a good story into a great one. The other team is dispatched to Bible Way Church of Atlas Road where the Rev. Darrell Jackson, also a state senator, endorsed North Carolina Sen. John Edwards two days earlier.  “I’m not sure what story you’re going to find there,” Covington tells the students. “Maybe the people at the church haven’t voted or they voted for different people.”

Covington says the newsresourcer will be looking for links and background information on the effect the church has on politics. They end up linking to a study from The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.


One week later Covington called the Primary Project “extraordinarily successful.” In fact, 300 other Web sites around the world linked to the project’s site. He believes this concept will only get better and that it is an ideal way for newspapers or television to supplement and enhance their coverage. Newsplex execs already are looking are ways to improve this kind of moblog project. One of the challenges for the students was trying to type their information on the small phone keypad. So, Covington says a future project could include reporters taking along laptops for easier typing.


In addition, the camera phones don’t take as good of quality of photos as a digital camera would, so that’s a potential technological improvement that would allow reporters to take photos and dump them into the laptop for transmitting. “It’s essentially the same process but the quality of the image is enhanced,” Covington says. Covington was pleased with the depth and breadth of the project’s coverage. “In some respects, it’s a rudimentary demonstration of how easy it is to use student journalists to provide coverage you’re not going to get anywhere else. We were a lot of places the TV stations weren’t. “In terms of thoroughness and depth, we beat the pants off the TV stations,” Covington says. “For newspapers, this is a way to compete with television. For TV, it’s a way to add depth to coverage.”


Newsplex and Cingular are discussing the possibility of expanding this project on a national scale to cover the November race for the White House.


Newsplex at the University of South Carolina Web site:

For information about our Academic Affiliates, visit


AEJMC Southeast Colloquium

March 3-6, 2004
University of South Florida
Media convergence will be the theme of the 2004 Southeast Colloquium, hosted by the University of South Florida School of Mass Communications. Gil Thelen, executive editor and senior vice president of The Tampa Tribune, a national leader in multimedia journalism, will give the keynote speech. In addition, Media General will host an opening reception, giving attendees an opportunity to tour the NewsCenter, the first and largest converged news operation in the world. Dr. Marie Flanagan, chair of the host committee, has also arranged for discounted hotel rates and has compiled a Web site for the colloquium (

Annual Computer-Assisted Reporting Conference
March 12-14, 2004
Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
Panel topics will include Census, crime, education, local and state government, freedom of information, transportation and more. Hands-on classes will be offered featuring spreadsheets, database managers, mapping, statistics and the latest in cutting-edge technology.

2004 International Symposium on Online Journalism

April 16-17, 2004

University of Texas at Austin

This year, the symposium has been extended over two days. Aside from the panel discussions and keynote address, research papers will be presented.

Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek's 2004 Interactive Media Conference & Trade Show
May 10-12, 2004
Hyatt Regency Atlanta on Peachtree Street.
Also part of the program, the 2004 EPpy Awards Luncheon will be May 12 at the Hyatt.

---------------Convergence Notes

The following quote bears repeating:

“Convergence is here.”  -- Tom Curley, president and chief executive officer of the Associated Press, at the South Carolina Press Association conference in Myrtle Beach.



Call for papers
AEJMC invites submission of original, non-published research papers that will be considered for presentation at the AEJMC Convention Aug. 4-7, 2004, in Toronto, Canada. Postmark deadline for submissions is April 1. For details, visit

Convergence Defined
Source: Online Journalism Review

It’s a ubiquitous buzzword, used to describe everything from corporate strategies to technological developments to job descriptions. But what does convergence really mean? Northwestern University journalism professor Rich Gordon explores the history of convergence in his new book “Digital Journalism: Emerging Media and the Changing Horizons of Journalism” (October 2003, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.).

Read a chapter from the book at:


---------------Affiliate Profile

Newsplex’s Affiliates program was created in 2001 to engage educational institutions in the process of sharing information about the training of the next generation of journalists. The initial goal was to involve recognized institutions from around the world in the Newsplex mission of teaching and research in convergent journalism. The Newsplex Affiliates program is now open to any institution that is engaged in teaching and research in convergent journalism. The Convergence Newsletter will profile Newsplex Affiliates in the coming issues. Institutions are strongly encouraged to submit information for a profile and can follow the outline below. Profiles should be submitted to For information on becoming an affiliate, visit


University of South Carolina

School of Journalism and Mass Communications

By Holly Fisher, editor, The Convergence Newsletter, and USC graduate student


Program Overview/Degrees Offered

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina is part of the College of Mass Communication and Information Studies ( The school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees:

--Bachelors of Arts, a degree in journalism and mass communications with a choice of four specializations: Advertising, Public Relations, Electronic Journalism, Print Journalism.

--Master of Arts for those planning to pursue a doctorate who will eventually teach in the field.

--Master of Mass Communications for students with undergraduate degrees in other academic areas who seek a professional degree in journalism and mass communications.

--Ph.D. for students seeking research and management careers in media, public relations, advertising, and teaching or research positions in higher education.


Courses Descriptions/Curriculum

--Advertising majors take introductory courses in advertising and public relations as well as classes in media planning, creative strategy, research, law and ethics, graphic design and advertising campaigns.

--Public Relations majors takes introductory courses in advertising and public relations, as well as classes in research, law and ethics, graphic design, public relations writing and an additional writing course, public relations campaigns and PR management.

--Electronic Journalism majors gain an understanding of the theories and practices of radio and television news. Courses concentrate on news, but also cover announcing, writing, producing and directing. Electronic journalism seniors are in the newsroom five days a week producing a live, daily television newscast. The newscast airs on a local cable channel and on the USC campus channel. 

--Print Journalism majors are prepared for careers with newspapers or magazines. Required course work includes reporting, copy editing, information graphics and specialized writing. Senior print journalism majors produce a weekly newspaper, The Carolina Reporter, as part of their practicum. Each issue of the newspaper is critiqued by print media professionals.

-Master of Arts students are part of a traditional academic program involving 24 semester hours of coursework plus a six-hour thesis. The thesis, an extensive and well-documented essay, is designed to demonstrate that the student is capable of independent research, under the supervision of a faculty committee, on a meaningful topic. The Master of Arts degree is especially appropriate for those interested in careers in teaching or mass communications research, and/or those who want to go ahead for a doctorate.

--Master of Mass Communication students are trained for media management as the program is designed more for those who wish to become professionals in some aspect of mass communications. M.M.C. students do not write a thesis, but are required to complete 36 hours of coursework, including a professional practicum experience with a newspaper, magazine, television or radio station, advertising or public relations department or agency, or some other approved mass media-related organization. Students applying for the M.M.C. may select an area of emphasis within the degree program: Integrated Communications or Newspaper Leadership.  

--Doctor of Philosophy students are prepared for research and management positions with mass media organizations and such related organizations as advertising and public relations agencies, research and marketing companies, and, especially, for teaching and research careers in higher education.

The doctoral program is small and selective, permitting each student a considerable degree of flexibility in tailoring courses and areas of study to fit his or her special needs and career goals.



-The School of Journalism and Mass Communications has 30 faculty members and 14 adjunct faculty members (

Charles Bierbauer is the dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies; Shirley Staples Carter is the director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications; Erik L. Collins
is associate director for Graduate Studies and Research; Van Kornegay is chair of the Advertising and Public Relations Sequence; and Pat McNeely is chair of the Electronic & Print Journalism Sequence.


Student-Produced Media


The Carolina Reporter Online at is a Web showcase of the school’s senior semester working newsroom. The online edition is published every other Wednesday; the print edition is published on alternate Wednesdays.


CarolinaNews Online showcases student work from the broadcast senior semester. Students produce a daily 30-minute television newscast which is telecast on area cable systems. The online stories featured on the site provide the students convergence experience in repackaging their material for the Web. CarolinaNews Online is accessed at And videos can be viewed using QuickTime.


How Convergence is Addressed in Curriculum

--The undergraduate senior semesters are where convergence has really started to become a part of USC’s journalism curriculum. Each semester students are immersed a little more into the world of new media, melding broadcast, print and online journalism together. Class by class, journalism professors are exposing their students to convergence.

Convergence remains a serious debate among professionals and academics. It’s a necessary debate about what journalists want to do and how and it’s about what the proper outcomes should be, says Doug Fisher, an instructor in the print and electronic sequences.


Many jobs are starting to demand new media skills and there continues to be a shift among hiring managers, Fisher says, looking for reporters with multimedia skills.

And that’s where USC professors are stepping in; they are giving their students a marketable skill set.

Instructor Scott Farrand says the more he uses convergence in his classes, the more he sees higher grades and better class reviews. He helps students start thinking visually through photojournalism, design and Web publishing. In the fall 2003 semester, he had students produce a multimedia story.

The result, Farrand says, of using convergence is richer stories because students have improved their seeing and their thinking.

“Is convergence going to go away? No. If you want to be better, faster, quicker, you have to take advantage (of convergence),” Farrand says.


Yet no matter how much professors incorporate convergence into their daily curriculum, the focus remains on good storytelling. It isn’t so much about fancy gadgets and the latest technology but about telling a good story.

“It’s easy to get into the whiz bang of technology,” Farrand says, “but really it’s about how to tell the story better.”

Fisher, who has worked in radio, TV and print as well as with The Associated Press, says reporters still need a strong background in the basic skills of writing but they have to be open to the many possibilities of telling stories in different ways.


“What we concentrate on is the content rather than the gadgets and the technical aspects,” Fisher says. “We want to teach a mindset so students understand the ability to put the story together. If the basics aren’t there, all the technology in the world won’t help.”

USC journalism professors, too, are learning about convergence right along with the students. For many of them, this is relatively new turf.

“The faculty as a whole has to decide where we’re going with (convergence),” says Dr. Andrea Tanner, who teaches in the electronic senior semester. “I don’t think anyone has determined a definition of convergence. We’re taking baby steps and it’s exciting to see where that leads.”


Expanding the scope

Right now much of the focus is on the senior semester “capstone” courses in which print students produce a newspaper with an online component and the broadcast students produce a daily newscast and Web site. Convergence curriculum has yet to really reach into the lower level courses. Only a few courses, such as a computer-assisted reporting class, are starting to dabble in new media. It can be challenging to teach convergence in undergraduate courses, instructors say, because the classes are larger and also those younger students may not even have mastered the basic reporting and writing skills yet. “The senior semester is a natural place to foray into convergence,” Fisher says.


Another goal is to converge the capstone courses themselves. This semester, for example, Carolina Reporter students are appearing on the Carolina News broadcast one day a week to promote upcoming stories in the newspaper and on the Web site. Fisher also hopes to resume transmission of Carolina News copy to the print newsroom for inclusion as briefs and longer stories in the Reporter.


Dr. Shirley Staples Carter, director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, foresees convergence having a bigger impact in the senior semester in the coming year or two. By the end of the semester, students should be “converged.” She also expects advertising and public relations to take advantage of new media opportunities, maybe using online components.


The School of Journalism’s newest effort in teaching convergent journalism is the proposed addition of a Convergent Journalism Sequence in the Masters of Mass Communication program (the school’s professional master’s degree program). The new program will include a set of four “core” courses in convergent media practices and management in addition to the school’s core MMC curriculum. Students also will be able to earn a Certificate in Convergent Journalism by enrolling in these four courses. The program will begin accepting registrants in fall 2004, with the coursework commencing summer 2005.


The role of Newsplex

Faculty credit Newsplex with giving them the tools and equipment to foster exploration of convergence. Newsplex is a prototype multimedia newsroom developed by Ifra, the world’s leading association for newspaper and media publishing. The facility is housed in the South Carolina Educational Television building on USC’s campus.


Fisher and Tim Brown, a professor in the print and electronic sequence, have converged their undergraduate editing and reporting classes at Newsplex in experiments to examine if journalists can get past the socialization barriers outlined in the literature looking at convergence cases both professionally and at the university level, Fisher explains. He and Brown presented a paper on their research at last fall’s conference on “Expanding Convergence: Media Use in a Changing Information Environment” hosted by USC and Newsplex.


Assistant professor Cecile Holmes works with seniors to develop the student-produced newspaper, The Carolina Reporter. In spring 2003, her class was one of the first to spend some time in Newsplex, using the technology and atmosphere of this state-of-the-art newsroom. Holmes background covering state, national and international issues makes her particularly interested in the possibilities convergence offers reporters, she says.


Holmes, who has 23 years of experience in reporting and editing including at The Houston Chronicle, also used Newsplex during her May semester course on Narrative Journalism. The class spent six days in Newsplex crafting stories in print, video and on the Web.


The students producing The Carolina Reporter create an online version of their newspaper and are required to be a part of a team that produces stories told across multiple media, Holmes explains.

“The way I see it as a teacher is to that a story is a story and we need to show students how to tell stories that are lucid, accurate and interesting in a way that utilizes all the media available to them and to require them to have skills in new media,” Holmes says.

This semester students are working on a special project about Briggs v. Elliott, a 1950s South Carolina case dealing with desegregation. The project is part of a special Brown v. BOE anniversary issue, complete with an interactive Web site, which will be available this week at


Other Notes

The University of South Carolina provides the infrastructure and some staffing for Newsplex, a prototype multiple-media micro-newsroom developed by Ifra, the world’s leading association for newspaper and media publishing. Newsplex was donated to the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies for demonstration, training and research in cross-media newshandling. The beyond-the-state-of-the-art news facility is used to educate a new generation of multi-skilled and multimedia-minded journalists and corporate communicators, to support professional news managers and their staffs from around the world who are adapting to the rapidly expanding media environment, and to research tools and methods for the emerging convergent news industry. It is housed in the South Carolina Education TV building on the USC campus.


Newsplex Affiliates Program


---------------Interesting Links

Journalism educators converged in St. Petersburg, Fla., Feb. 8-13 for the Convergence Journalism for College Educators seminar. They created a blog to share their thoughts and ideas on convergence:

Experience the world of an Iranian woman via her blog, “Lady Sun: My naked observations from this crazy world of words, worries and wishes,” at


---------------Copyright and Redistribution

The Convergence Newsletter is Copyright © 2004 by the University of South Carolina, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. All rights reserved.

The Convergence Newsletter is free and published by The Center for Mass Communications Research at the University of South Carolina, College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. It may be redistributed in any form – print or electronic – without edits or deletion of any content.

---------------Submission Guidelines/Deadline Schedule


The Convergence Newsletter welcomes articles of all sorts addressing the subject of convergence in journalism and media. We also accept news briefs, calls for papers and conference announcements. Our audience is both academics and professionals, and the publication style is APA 7th edition. Feature articles should be 750 to 1,500 words; other articles should be 250 to 750 words; announcements and conference submissions should be 200 words. All articles should be submitted to The Convergence Newsletter Editor at Please include your name, affiliation and contact information with your submission.


The Convergence Newsletter is published the first week of each month (except January). Articles should be submitted at least 10 days prior to the publication date. Any questions should be sent to

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