Newsroom technology: Form, style, and content
Kathleen Woodruff Wickham, The University of Memphis, United States
The University of Memphis . Awarded
This study represents an attempt to identify characteristics of newsroom technology training and newsroom trainers. Of interest were the backgrounds of newsroom trainers, their educational philosophies, teaching methods, and their perception of management's view of training.
According to the results of this study, trainers typically split their time between training and other newsroom duties, most are young journalists with less than 10 years experience in the field, and virtually none have a background in education. Computer expertise and interest in training their peers in new technologies was cited as the most common factor among the trainers as the reason for the existence of a training post at their newspapers.
The motivational/evangelistic training model with its emphasis on peer sharing of information was only slightly more popular than the continuing education model, with its use of short workshops, brown bag lunches and training related to specific reporting projects. Few of the respondents endorsed the university model with its extended time away from the newsroom.
The study also found few trainers use formal objectives when planning or develop specific outcomes for their courses. The absence of these guides indicates that training programs are inherently weak: neither the instructor has a clear plan for instruction, nor is the journalist able to isolate exactly what is expected of him from the training.
Such disparities might explain some of the resistance to training encountered by newsroom trainers and managers. The results point to a need for a training program for trainers to enhance their skills in this critical area.
Wickham, K.W. Newsroom technology: Form, style, and content. Ph.D. thesis, The University of Memphis.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
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