Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cal State University puts Injo on curriculum

Here is some exciting news from Raul Reis, Associate Professor & Acting Chair of the Journalism Department at California State University, Long Beach. He has put Innovation Journalism on the curriculum for this autumn. Raul is a pioneer, this is the first time Injo is offered to undergraduates at a US University.

For more info, get in touch with Raul directly.

Raul's story about the Injo course in his own words:

The Department of Journalism at California State University, Long Beach, is offering for the first time this fall a course on Innovation Journalism. I had the idea to create and teach the course during the Fourth InJo conference at Stanford last May. To be honest, I didn’t know much about InJo before I attended the conference. I had heard the term before, but didn’t quite grasp what made the concept different from good, old-fashioned, news coverage of technology. I have to say that IJ-4 changed my perspective on InJo, and broadened my horizons on the topic. The most striking thing about InJo for me is its ability to approach innovation in a more holistic way, looking at how different aspects of the innovative spectrum overlap and complement each other. As a result, instead of looking at the latest gadgets or software programs as isolated end products, this wider approach to innovation tries to look at them in a more comprehensive way, examining each step that took to get to a particular technological advance; the impact that new technologies or products might have on society and the market; the political, social or environmental forces that might be at play; and even the overall benefits that might be accrued from this particular development. Moreover, InJo forces journalists and students to think outside the box, and cover not only technological developments, but also innovation in areas such as science and the environment, new social trends, creative government and public policy, and the business world, just to list the mot obvious ones. Since most of my students are advanced undergraduate journalism majors, many of them seniors, I wanted the course to be hands-on—instead of talking about InJo’s definitions, for example, I want them to be InJo reporters and editors. For this reason, the course is organized as a hands-on workshop, where students, working in pairs, produce multimedia packages that cover innovative developments, trends, products, and ideas. Those multimedia packages have to blend platforms and media, including video, photography, hypertext, graphics, and audio. The motto for the course is: “Instead of talking about innovation, show us innovation.” The students and I are also producing a web site, where all stories and packages will be posted, and a collective blog, an ongoing conversation about some of the issues and topics we discuss in class. Whenever needed, we take class time to work on different programs and software, to try to bring everyone to a similar technical level. Students have responded really well to this last point, with savvier students making themselves available as a resource for more tech-shy classmates. The department and faculty have been very supportive of this InJo initiative, because all of us understand the importance of media and technological convergence, and we want to prepare our students to face a marketplace that expects them to hit the ground running. I’m especially excited about this new field, and hopeful that this special course will be successful and translate into a permanent teaching and research area for us.

Course blog: http://innovationjournalists.blogspot.com/
Course web site: coming soon


Anonymous said...

Excellent synopsis, Raul! The program looks mature in perspective but cutting-edge in practice. The hands-on approach, with "show us innovation" as your motto, sounds like it is resonating with the students. We're looking forward to seeing where it goes.

Anonymous said...

Sounds similar to the my journalism program: http://www.tru.ca/ae/bjour/index.html

I remember covering similar topics in my online journalism class. It has definitely been useful. Every day I use the skills gained in that class.

I have no objection to students doing these types of courses as long as there is still a focus on traditional journalism techniques.

David Nordfors said...


It would be great to learn more about what you did on innovation with you students, and what the outcome was!