The Convergence Newsletter
From Newsplex at the University of South Carolina

Vol. 1 No. 9 (April 6, 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

            New roles in converged newsrooms

            Annual AEJMC Southeast Regional Conference a success

            Newsplex News

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

Partnership for Online and Beyond: Strategic Thinking for a Multiplatform World

Convergence: The Tour

Newsplex Summer Seminars

Digital Revolution Conference (call for papers/presentations)

            The State of the News Media 2004


Affiliate Profile
            James Cook University/University of Tasmania, Australia

---------------Feature Articles
New roles in converged newsrooms
By Augie Grant, Ph.D., Newsplex Academic Liaison

One of the basic lessons from the study of converged newsrooms is the emergence of a set of new roles that must be filled in these newsrooms. The new roles are a not a function of combining different types of journalism, but rather are a function of the new opportunities inherent when a team of journalists is gathering content and delivering news across multiple media.


Four specific roles have been identified by the Newsplex team. The “newsflow manager” oversees all stories in progress across all media, allocating the appropriate resources to individual stories and then directing the stories to each of the output media in the converged newsroom. The “storybuilder” supervises all aspects of an individual story, coordinating the reporters, photographers, and other personnel assigned to a story in the gathering of information and the distribution of the stories produced across media.  The “news resourcer” is an information specialist who is a resource to all of the journalists and editors in a newsroom, providing information from archives, databases, the Internet and other secondary sources to assist in the production of stories. Finally, the “multiskilled journalist” is a reporter who is trained to gather information and write stories for each of the output media in the converged newsroom.


The most important characteristic of these new roles is that they do not necessarily reflect individuals or specific positions in a newsroom. Rather, each of the four represents a new set of responsibilities and activities in a newsroom. In Newsplex training, individuals are assigned to each role, but, in newsrooms, the roles may overlap across individuals or may be split, with two or more people combining to serve the role.


Over the next four issues of The Convergence Newsletter, we will profile each of the four new roles. As you read these, please keep in mind that there may be other emerging roles that should also be profiled. If you have identified any other new roles, please let us know so that we can address those in a future edition.


‘Storybuilder’ embodies new roles in evolving newsrooms

By Doug Fisher, Instructor, University of South Carolina School of Journalism and Mass Communications

A newspaper person walking into Newsplex, a prototype newsroom of the future, might ask: Where are the copy editors, the assigning editors? A broadcaster might wonder: Where are the producers?

They all there, but embodied in a new job of “storybuilder.”


Storybuilder proposes how multimedia news workers might deal with information and story flow different from today’s linear, assembly-line models that have quality control concentrated at defined points (producers or copy editors). In the future, multimedia elements of the same story likely will flow at widely differing times and, possibly, locations. [1,2,3]


Instead of managing multiple stories for one medium (or one and a half if you include much of today’s repackaged Web), the storybuilder manages fewer multimedia “streams” on specific topics, filing the output directly or making the elements available to other more media-specific desks. (“Topic” is specifically used here because Gelernter suggests “story” might denote something much different in a future multimedia newsroom: Time slices so that the “story” from each stream changes from hour to hour or minute to minute, whatever the designated increment. [4])


Thus, the storybuilder must have a copy editor’s eye for detail with the producer’s acumen for flow and pacing and the assigning editor’s skill in seeing the various paths a topic might take and in matching resources to those possibilities.


Working as storybuilder during our recent experiment covering February’s S.C. Democratic presidential primary via mobile Web log ( is illustrative. In consultation with the newsflow editor who tracks the broader look, feel and progress of the entire output, we had decided on a daypart topic of “Congratulations and Condolences.” I supervised, edited and filed the stream produced by reporters assigned to Sen. John Edwards’ evening party. The early theme emerged in the form of the many people from other states who came to help Edwards get what he said was a must-have win.


Although we transmitted solely to the mobile Web log, photos, text blurbs and video were all in play, and as storybuilder, I had to decide what to pursue with each type (each reporting team had a cell phone to shoot photos and limited video and to file text via e-mail). I had to provide some direction to the reporters about topic (for instance, at one point we had no minority representatives; the reporters were told to seek out people of color), and I had to consider other multimedia elements.


By working with a “news resourcer,” another key job, we quickly developed links to topics mentioned by those interviewed (such as Edwards’ stand on specific issues). Were a graphics specialist available, I might have asked for a U.S. map on which we could have tracked where the various volunteers had come from. (Roll your mouse over the map and see that person’s tale: under Gelernter’s concept, this kind of package might well be a time slice’s “story.”) Later, the theme moved to Edwards, his statements and the reactions, with a new set of multimedia decisions needed.


While the job is much like that of a wire-service editor’s, it has many more elements, and it is unclear how many effectively can be done by one person. Copy editing is particularly troubling. As Russial has suggested, “Goodbye copy desks, hello trouble?” [5] and smaller newsrooms with overworked editors and producers provide evidence of the increased dangers of inaccuracies. It was difficult as a storybuilder on primary night to always provide the keen eye to copy and graphics.


These and many other questions relating to news flow need detailed study, but storybuilder, in some form, is likely to be found in future newsrooms.


[1] Newhagen, J.E., & Levy, M.R (1998). The future of journalism in distributed communication architecture. In D.L Borden & K. Harvey (Eds.), The electronic grapevine: Rumor, reputation, and reporting in the new on-line environment (pp. 9-21). Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Earlbaum Associates.

[2] Fisher, Douglas J. (2002, November). The editor’s role in a hypertext future: The journey from story generalist and media specialist. Paper presented at The Dynamics of Convergent Media Newsplex Week Academic Conference, Columbia, S.C. Available from author at

[3] Fisher, Douglas J. (2003, June) Integrity: The new management challenge. Common Sense Journalism, 17. Originally published in the South Carolina Press Association Bulletin. Available at

[4] Gelernter, D. (2003, June 23). The next great American newspaper. The Weekly Standard, 8 (40). Retrieved March 28, 2004, from

[5] Russial, J. (1998). Goodbye copy desks, hello trouble? Newspaper Research Journal 19, 2-16.


Annual AEJMC Southeast Regional Conference a success

By Marie Curkan-Flanagan, Conference Chair

Convergence was the theme for the 29th annual AEJMC Southeast Regional Conference hosted by the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla. Faculty and staff in USF’s School of Mass Communications greeted more than 150 participants. Jay Friedlander, director of the School of Mass Communications, agreed to bring the conference to Tampa on the premise that the West Coast of Florida had “grown in reputation for quality journalism and for cutting-edge experiments in convergence.”


Additionally, Friedlander indicated that the Tampa Bay metropolitan area is home to 14 television stations, 60 radio stations, seven daily newspapers, 70 non-daily newspapers, 50 magazines, dozens of advertising and publication firms and many other media organizations such as Nielsen Media Research, the Home Shopping Network, and the New York Times Regional Newspaper Group headquarters.


Conference chair Marie Curkan-Flanagan coordinated the presentation of 80 papers in six AEJMC divisions—History, Law, Magazine, Newspaper, Open, and for the first time in SEC’s history, Radio Television journalism (140 papers were submitted). The program kicked off with a tour of Media General’s News Center, the world’s first and largest convergence facility. The tour was followed by a reception on the center’s beautiful veranda overlooking the downtown Tampa skyline.


The following day USF provost Renu Khator provided the welcoming remarks and Tampa Tribune publisher Gil Thelen delivered the lunchtime address. Thelan told the participants that “convergence is not an expense-saving operation” and that “journalists with a good balance of writing and people skills are on demand.”


However, Thelan said both new journalists and educators needed “flexibility,” “broadmindedness,” and a strong willingness to work with others as a team if they are to succeed in an ever-changing media world. He also emphasized the fact that although The News Center has been working with convergence for over four years and that many industry leaders have championed the use and concepts of convergence “… no truly unique delivery vehicle has emerged.”


The conference also featured four panels including a USF-sponsored panel of prominent local journalists – Victoria Lim, senior consumer investigative reporter, WFLA; Peter Howard, team leader, News and Special Projects, TBO.Com, and John Vaughan, team leader, Politics and Government, Tampa Tribune – all of whom discussed convergence and its relationship to the viewer. Members of the panel indicated that convergence uses the unique and individual aspects of all media platforms to get the best information out to the consumer. Another panel sponsored by the Mass Communication and Society division of the AEJMC discussed and evaluated the merits of team reporting as a collaborative teaching effort.


The program also included a tour of The Poynter Institute where participants were greeted by the Institute’s new president Karen Brown Dunlap.


Conference participants wrapped-up their business meeting with a heated debate regarding whether to continue the growth and expansion of the conference and although the conference has long functioned without any established rules or organizational structure a vote supervised by incoming AEJMC president Mary Alice Shaver determined that the SEC would admit “no other divisions” to the existing six without a two-third vote of the year’s business meeting.


The 2005, 30th annual, Southeast Regional Colloquium will be at the University of Georgia in Athens and the 2006 conference will be hosted by the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

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

By Julie Nichols, Newsplex Projects Director

It’s official – more than 1,500 people have toured or trained in the Newsplex since it opened in November 2002. The Newsplex team would like to thank all the media professionals, university and secondary school faculty, and students from all over the world that joined us in our first 16 months of operation for their insights, enthusiasm and encouragement. 


March has been a busy month. One week was dedicated to Newsplex Roles Training for a wonderful group of journalists from the IMPRESA media group of Lisbon, Portugal.  IMPRESA Director António Torres Pereira joined IMPRESA staff members from the newspaper, magazine and television divisions of the company.  Trainees included Carla Costa, Filipe Fialho, Gisela Henriques, and Cíntia Sakellaries from Edimpresa, the magazine division; Inês Bravo, Vítor Raínho and Mário Ramires from the newspaper Expresso; and Martim Cabral, Fernando Fraga, Lourenço Medeiros, Francisco Penim and Paula Santos from the television news organization SIC. Thanks to the group for their warmth and good cheer throughout their visit.


Other news professionals visiting this month included Ray Ban, executive vice president for science and strategy; Terry Connelly, senior vice president and general manager of production/programming; Keith Westerlage, vice president of on-camera meteorology and Tony Grohovshk, director of broadband services for The Weather Channel; three German broadcasters, Britta Hassinger, a reporter for the “Tagesschau” news program on the public NDR station in Hamburg; Cordula Johannis, a freelancer for Deutsche Welle TV in Berlin and Stephan Vosskühler from the private news channel N-TV, also in Berlin, on an RIAS journalism exchange program; and Ainsley Earhardt, anchor of the WLTX-19 (Columbia, S.C.) morning and noon news programs.


The Newsplex was the site of the “Future of Journalism and Mass Communications Education in the Academy” AEJMC/ASJMC leadership summit this month as well. Moderated by University of South Carolina Dean of the College of Mass Communications and Information Studies Charles Bierbauer, panelists included director of the USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications Shirley Staples Carter; ASJMC President John Soloski, dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia; ASJMC President-Elect Russ Shain, dean of the College of Communications at Arkansas State University; and AEJMC Vice President Sharon Dunwoody of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


Attendees at the summit included USC CIO Bill Hogue; USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies Associate Dean Gayle Douglas; director of the USC School of Library and Information Science Dan Barron; AEJMC/ASJMC Executive Director Jennifer McGill; and AEJMC/ASJMC staff members Rich Burke and Kendell Martin; USC School of Journalism and Mass Communications partnership board members Manny Gaetan and Van Newman; and University of Georgia faculty members Kent Middleton and Scott Shamp. USC faculty, staff and graduate students attending included Jennifer Arns, Ken Campbell, Leslie Turner, Kimberly Dressler, Amanda Ingram, Harvie Nachlinger, Pat McNeely, Gail Pack, Chris Roberts, Rick Stephens and Augie Grant.


Other visitors from the academy included University of South Carolina Provost Jerry Odom and about 75 members of the University Associates alumni organization; Wilma King, public relations program coordinator at Western Kentucky University; and Western Kentucky visiting international scholars Giancarlo Polenghi, chief operating officer of an advertising and public relations firm in Florence, Italy; and Carlos Gonzalez of Mexico; faculty member Dan Shaver of the University of Central Florida; 24 students from Columbia International University (South Carolina); and 15 teachers and high school students attending the Southern Interscholastic Press Association’s annual convention.


Newsplex at the University of South Carolina Web site:

For information about our Academic Affiliates, visit


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.


Partnership for Online and Beyond: Strategic Thinking for a Multiplatform World

For global and national markets April 26-30, 2004

Skip to navigationFor regional and local markets, May 18-21, 2004

Reston, Va.

This intense seminar gathers senior executives from both Web and traditional media operations to tackle the challenges and rewards of multi-platform and interdepartmental cooperation. It is designed to boost cross-company teamwork and sharing of the core knowledge and strategies required for building lasting multi-platform news operations. The team package price (includes tuition, 5 nights hotel, most meals for two people) is $6,600.


Convergence: The Tour

Oct. 19-22, 2004

Location: TBA

Visit three of the most fully converged multi-platform newsrooms in the world in this convergence tour hosted by the American Press Institute. Meet executives and rank-and-file staffers who “do” convergence, see firsthand what convergence is all about and learn what it takes to build a converged news operation. Attendees will gain a better understanding of the costs and benefits of the various convergence models and of the nuts and bolts of structuring a convergence partnership. Tuition is $2,100 or $1,890 if you register by the Aug. 19 early-bird deadline.


Newsplex Summer Seminars

Teaching & Researching in Convergent Media

May 17-21 and May 24-28, 2004

Location: Newsplex, Columbia, S.C.

The College of Mass Communications and Information Studies at the University of South Carolina is offering funding 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. This fee includes tuition, supplies, and lunches, but does not include hotel. Attendance is limited to 12 persons for each of the five-day sessions, and space is still available in both sessions.


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


A Conference on The Digital Revolution: The Impact of Digital Media and Information Technologies (Call for papers)

Oct. 14-16, 2004

Location: University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

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. 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 of three categories: completed papers, proposals or abstracts of papers in progress, or proposals for panels. 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: For more information, see Submission deadline (postmark) is June 15, 2004. 


A Showcase of Digital Media and Information Projects and Practices (Call for presentations)

Oct. 14-16, 2004

Location: University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

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; or case studies (poster format with demonstration)


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. Submission deadline (postmark) is June 15, 2004.



The State of the News Media 2004
– A study released in March by the Project for Excellence in Journalism is the first annual report on the state of the news media. The study reveals that journalism in 2004 is in the midst of a monumental transformation. Journalism is becoming not irrelevant just more complex, in part because of the conflicting trends of fragmentation and convergence, which often lead in opposite directions. The study highlights eight trends, one of which is that convergence seems more inevitable and potentially less threatening to journalists than it may have seemed a few years ago. Read the entire report 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


James Cook University/University of Tasmania, Australia

By John Cokley, Lecturer in Journalism at James Cook University and Interim Convener of the Australian Convergent Journalism Special Interest Group

The Australian Convergent Journalism Special Interest Group (ACJ-SIG) is the first Australian journalism body to affiliate with Newsplex. It comprises journalism academics from James Cook University in tropical north Queensland (near the Great Barrier Reef) and the University of Tasmania (the southernmost university in Australia), who teach, research and publish in the field of convergent journalism.


James Cook University, Townsville

Program Overview/Degrees Offered

James Cook University’s School of Humanities teaches journalists how to report, interpret and comment on a wide range of subjects, from art to aeronautics, from politics to policing, from sport to science. JCU's Bachelor of Journalism provides the skills applicable to all those tasks, as well as allowing students to develop expertise in particular subject areas. Students from other degree programs are able to complete some journalism subjects, giving them an important advantage in areas of employment dealing with the media. The Bachelor of Journalism is a three-year program which provides students with core journalistic skills along with a specialization in another discipline. The discipline chosen for the sub-major is each student’s choice. The bachelor of journalism can also be taken as a joint degree with arts or business.

--Bachelor of Journalism (

--Graduate Certificate of Journalism (

--Graduate Diploma of Journalism (


Course Descriptions/Curriculum

Bachelor of Journalism and Pathways

Year One Courses: Effective Writing, Critical Reading, Introduction to Journalism, News-gathering Techniques, Communication, Information and Society, Comparative Politics:  Making Sense of a Puzzling World or World Politics: International Conflict or Co-operation. (Plus six units – two subjects – from nominated sub major. Remaining subjects, to make a total of 24 units for the year, chosen from the Master Schedule of Subjects.)

Year Two Courses: Media Law and Ethics, Writing for Print, Feature Writing and one of the following subjects: International Journalism, Public Relations, Radio News, Radio Current Affairs or Television News. (Plus at least six units (two subjects) of 2000 level study from nominated sub major. Remaining subjects, to make a total of 24 units for the year, may be taken from anywhere in the Master Schedule, and may constitute a second sub-major.)

Year Three Courses: Current Debates and Practices in Journalism, Media and Race Relations and at least two of the following subjects: Print Editing, International Journalism, Television News, Advanced News Writing or Advanced Public Relations. (Plus at least six units – two subjects – of 3000 level study from nominated sub major. Remaining subjects, to make a total of 24 units for the year, may be taken from anywhere in the Master Schedule, and may constitute a second sub-major.)

Year Four Courses: Journalism Honors Thesis and two of the following subjects: Journalism and Literature, Independent Project and Advanced Journalism Theory.



The school has four key faculty members ( John Cokley is a lecturer in journalism at the Townsville campus and also the interim convener of the Australian Convergent Journalism Special Interest Group; Robyn McDougall is a lecturer in journalism at the Townsville campus; Dr. James Norgate is a senior lecturer in journalism at the Cairns campus and Ndaeyo Uko is a lecturer in journalism at the Cairns campus.

Collective research interests among faculty members include freedom of the press, print industry in regional Australia, regional and remote newsgathering and publishing, cross-cultural journalism, technology changes in journalism and their effects on the profession, quality assurance in journalism, journalism as performance, literary journalism, journalism and satire, Asia/Pacific media systems, and modern news writing forms.


Student-Produced Media


Rural IT news magazine

The Barcoo Independent rural community newspaper


Bumma Bippera Media news (radio)

Exposure, 4K1G (radio)


CuriOZity (


How Convergence is Addressed in Curriculum

The course covers print, radio, online and television reporting, and introduces students to the technology used and roles and functions played by the media industry. An understanding of converging media is important to many professions operating in the information age. The journalism discipline uses modern radio and TV studios on campus and also has established a working print newsroom. JCU assists in publishing radio and print reports using digital networks across distances up to 500 miles.


Studying journalism at JCU is not just about theory; students have the opportunity to gain practical experience in media outlets throughout Australia during the degree, many using new media, such as reporting to mobile platforms and digital radio. Whether students are interested in a career in the media or in moving into the public relations area, the bachelor of journalism offers them the knowledge and hands-on skills required. Some of the industry links, agreements and awards which are currently available to journalism students at JCU.


University of Tasmania, Hobart

Program Overview/Degrees Offered

The University of Tasmania ( offers a major within a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Media Studies. It offers students the unique opportunity to learn about environmental journalism and has a strong focus on encouraging students to gain portfolios through an emphasis on practical subjects such as feature writing and radio journalism. The university has a community radio station based at its Hobart campus. The undergraduate program is one of the newest in Australia and has already a strong success record in placing graduates in the industry. A postgraduate coursework program was introduced in 2003 and has continued the focus on environmental journalism, but it also has strengths in investigative journalism and convergence.

--Major in Journalism and Media Studies in the Bachelor of Arts degree (

--Graduate Certificate in Journalism and Media Studies (

--Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies (

--Masters in Journalism and Media Studies (


Course Descriptions/Curriculum

Undergraduate program

Students learn how to articulate the interaction between theory and practice by studying a variety of units. There are five subjects offered each semester in the undergraduate program. People's Witness is one of the latest units to be offered which encourages students to study the writings of journalists whose work impacted significantly on the times in which they lived. Radio journalism students prepare news bulletins and documentaries which are aired on the community radio station, Edge radio. Undergraduates must study ethics in journalism and media law if they are majoring in journalism and media studies.

Postgraduate program

A unit titled “Writing For Media” encourages students with undergraduate degrees in disciplines other than journalism and media studies, to enroll in the postgraduate by coursework program. This “bridging” unit introduces students to generic skills already taught to students in our undergraduate program. Postgraduate students are offered a choice of either: Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or a Masters in Journalism and Media Studies.

Journalism and Media Studies units offered in 2003

Semester 1: Introduction to Media Studies, Feature Writing, Public Communications, Sub-editing and Layout, Television Journalism and Professional Placement 1

Semester 2: Introduction to Journalism, Environmental Journalism, Writing about Science, Ethics in Journalism, Radio Journalism, Online Journalism, Professional Placement 2

Cross-listed units (prerequisites for units listed is 25 percent in level 100 journalism): Espionage, Terror and Global Disorder, Financial Reporting, Foreign Correspondence: Foreign Policy and the Media, Marketing Communications, Mass Media and Contemporary Societies, Media and Politics, Media Law, Foundations of Media and Information Technology Law, Media Policy, Reporting Asia, Social and Political Research, Spreading the Word: A History of Image and Text, and Writing Narrative

--Shorthand – Students are encouraged to acquire shorthand skills. Courses are offered by a variety of institutions. Shorthand is a required skill for cadets working in the media industry and a level of competence is necessary before cadet journalists can be graded.

--Course staff is investigating the possibility of a Bachelor of Arts in Communications or Journalism and Media Studies. One stream staff will be proposing is new media or multimedia, which would be in conjunction with our School of Art that already has an E-media major.



The University of Tasmania’s School of English, Journalism & European Languages has four key faculty members ( Lindsay Simpson is the school’s journalism coordinator and contact for the Australian Convergent Journalism Special Interest Group. Her areas of research include the blurring of the boundaries between fact and fiction; convergent journalism and investigative journalism. Nicola Goc is a lecturer whose research areas include infanticide and its representation in newspapers, comparative study from the 19th century to the present day and internships. Libby Lester is a lecturer whose research areas include environmental journalism, particularly the use of language in describing “the wilderness.” Liz Tynan is a lecturer whose research areas include writing about science, particularly biography, radio journalism, language and sub-editing.


Facilities and Student-Produced Media


At the moment, no publication, but working on producing one. Staff is also in the process of publishing the work of the postgraduate advanced writing students who have all produced a work of creative nonfiction.


Radio station, Edge radio, based on the Sandy Bay, Hobart, campus with a focus on youth. (


Coastview (


How Convergence is Addressed in Curriculum

The postgraduate program has one unit titled “Convergent Journalism” where students are taught how to tell the same story across multiple platforms: audio, visual and text. The subject is run intensively over either winter or summer schools and in the final assignments, students are expected to produce a major project covering all three mediums.


Online journalism is taught in the undergraduate program. The students write for a Web site called Coastview which, as its name suggests, publishes students' stories about the coast. In the developing postgraduate program, faculty intend to introduce an online publication, which would be produced by students, which would have the twofold aim of teaching them about online journalism and give students in both the undergraduate and postgraduate program, an opportunity to see their work published. It would also give students enrolled in sub-editing and design an actual project within which to work.


Other Notes

Journalism academics at two universities “Down Under” have joined forces to launch the first Australian organization to be affiliated with Newsplex. The academics – from James Cook University in Townsville, north Queensland, and the University of Tasmania in Hobart – have formed the Australian Convergent Journalism Special Interest Group (ACJ-SIG) for the affiliation.


Convener John Cokley, a journalism lecturer at James Cook University, said he hoped other university journalism departments would follow suit, either by joining the ACJ-SIG or by launching affiliations of their own.


“Previously there has been no Australian affiliate of Newsplex,” Cokley said. “I think establishing and operating think-tanks such as this says a lot about our approach to professionalism and forward thinking in the industries of journalism and journalism education. It also offers great potential for staff and student exchanges between our universities and Newsplex over the coming years. As we all know, internationalization of courses is an important aim of any university these days.”


University of Tasmania journalism and media studies coordinator Lindsay Simpson said, “If we are preparing students for a changing media world, then we should be teaching them to cope in that world. I believe convergent journalism is here to stay and increasingly reporters will be expected to be equally familiar across all three mediums: audio, video and text.


“It will no longer be acceptable to simply say you are a print, radio or television journalist,” she added. “As an educator, delivering convergent journalism courses often involves being outside of your comfort zone, but that may not be a bad thing.  Students respond to the way the skills are introduced to them. It gives them the opportunity to have a portfolio.


“It is important that students gain strengths in each medium, which is why our course has equal emphasis on each component, including sound and visual workshops. The University of Tasmania has just funded me to lead a major project to document and develop the teaching/research nexus at the university using multiple mediums to tell the story: audio, video and text,” Simpson said. “We are using graduate students from our convergent journalism course to illustrate this nexus.”


The University of Tasmania’s convergent journalism course was introduced in 2002 and is taught as an intensive two-week course as part of the Masters of Journalism and Media Studies program.


Simpson has lectured and presented papers extensively on convergent journalism. Her most recent appearances include conference papers on digital storytelling presented in Hobart and Sydney, Australia, and New Plymouth, New Zealand, in 2003.


Cokley has published in the area of convergent journalism, including “The origin of a species: The distributed newsroom” with Sally Eeles in Australian Studies in Journalism, and “Staying in touch – News Delivery to Australian Researchers in Antarctica,” Southern Review, both in 2003.


He also presented “Digital networks: The News Communication Powerhouse,” at the inaugural Conference of the Media and Communications Program, University of Melbourne, last year, and has been accepted to present a refereed paper at the American Society of Business and Behavioural Sciences conference in Cairns, Australia, in August.


The two Aussie universities are actually at the opposite ends of the country: James Cook is in the far north of Queensland with campuses in Townsville and Cairns, just near the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the World Heritage rainforests of the Daintree; and the University of Tasmania, in Hobart, is the closest university in the country to the vast icy expanses of Antarctica.


Hobart is the jumping-off point for many Antarctic research and supply vessels and the focus of cutting-edge marine biology research, making it a strong focus for environmental journalists as well. Townsville is the site of Australia’s largest Army base and the launch-pad for Aussie fighting forces involved in the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, as well as peacekeeping forces sent to East Timor and the Solomon Islands.



Newsplex Affiliates Program

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

Blog headquarters – Anyone addicted to weblogs should bookmark This site is both a current events search engine and blog library. gathers news and information from more than 59,000 newspaper sites, online magazines and weblogs. also has the day’s top news, the top 40 blogs and a neat feature called “News Bursts,” defined as “heightened usage of certain words on the front page of news sites within the last couple days.”


Book Editing – If you ever wanted to try your hand at editing a book, here’s your chance. San Jose Mercury News technology columnist Dan Gillmor is posting chapters of his new book, “Making the News,” online. Readers are invited to offer feedback, corrections or suggestions, so Gillmor can make appropriate changes before “Making the News” is published. So far, you can read the Introduction and Chapters 1-4 at

Look for training online – The Society of Professional Journalists, in conjunction with the Council of National Journalism Organizations, has launched, a central site where journalists can search for training by topic, location or date. represents a collaboration among journalism organizations, training institutes and individuals and academic institutions that provide journalism training.

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