FAMU hosts multimedia workshop to help reporters

Students and media professionals seeking to gain knowledge about convergence could be found in FAMU’s School of Journalism and Graphic Communication on Saturday. The event, which was sponsored by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors, the Florida Press Association and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, was a multimedia workshop addressing aspects of professional journalism.

The occasion marked the first time FAMU hosted the multimedia workshop. In October, the workshop took place at the University of Florida; in December it was held at the University of Miami.

Speakers included journalists volunteering from different newspapers. Sessions included courses for writing online, headlines for the Web, audio reporting and blog writing.

Gil Theylen, the director of FSNE, played a major role in creating the workshop. He said the event was meant as professional development for reporters.

“The workshop is for working professionals,” Theylen said. “The students are welcome participants, but they are not our primary focus.”

Theylen said the multimedia workshops are hosted at universities to accommodate large crowds. They draw students, but attract newspapers as well.

He said FSNE did a needs assessment and found that the top training request was for multimedia skills. He then came up with a way to make it both affordable and convenient in terms of location and time.

“That is why we did Saturdays,” Theylen said. “We wanted to utilize college campuses and draw the faculties from Florida newspapers. We were able to get some of the very best writing talent.”

After having the event in both Gainesville and Miami, Theylen decided that Tallahassee would be the best location for a third function. Theylen said FAMU was the best choice and Dorothy Bland, the director of journalism, immediately jumped on his proposal.

“I’m delighted with the turnout,” Bland said. “Our goal was to have 70 people and we have over 80. This is the opportunity for faculty and students to interact with professionals on a variety of topics ranging from video for photographers to blog writing.”

The workshop began with breakfast served in the gallery, followed by the first class – writing online. Thelma Givens, an FPA member, could be seen directing participants toward sessions and instructing students on the schedule. She said the event is very fundamental.

“Not only can participants network with newspaper members, they can gain computer skills that they can take back to their companies to share,” Givens said.

The next multimedia workshop will be at the University of South Florida in May.