Cutting Edge

Today marks the last day of classes for the Spring semester. On a lighter note, it’s also my last day of class as an undergrad at the University of Florida.  The feeling is surreal.  As I step out of my comfort zone, at this place which I’ve been lucky to call home for the past four years, the question is: What’s next?

I started this blog for my Advanced Interactive News class in January with the full intention of learning as much as I could about the latest technology that bring our worlds together.  I even hailed it as a digital revolution.  But, perhaps the greatest lesson I learned is that this revolution will never fade. Technology will advance relentlessly, and we can either choose to follow it or stay stuck in our own world.

The Center for Media Innovation and Research (CMIR) at the University of Florida is taking steps to bridge that gap between the old school mediums and the newest technologies. They are “working to create new ways of telling the stories that journalists tell…providing an outlet for student and faculty projects to tell stories in new ways.”

 This 21st Century Newsroom and Laboratory is fully convergent and multi-platform.  It provides advanced training for UF students, equipping them with tools to combine text, real-time and edited video, podcasts, and other web-based/mobile applications when publishing.  Instead of solely utilizing one form of media, all forms of innovation are fused into a completely 3D, real-time experience.

This is the future.  News is no longer the 6:30 newscast.  It’s ongoing.  It’s the 21st century.

I am thankful that the University of Florida has the foresight to educate future journalists in this way.  The assortment of projects that has already been published by the Center is amazing. With crisp photos, movement and sound accompanying every piece, storytelling is taken to a new level.  One of the Center’s biggest accomplishments is their comprehensive Election 2010 coverage of Florida’s elections.  Real-time results and soundbites from candidates and election figures gave the public an interactive play-by-play of the major developments.  CMIR also covered the Gulf oil spill by tying together professional radio, television, and newspaper reports with amateur video and photographs.  They even installed a Gulf Oil Tracker on their website, courtesy of PBS Newshour’s widget.

Learning to combine all mediums,old and new, into our reports as journalists is the best preparation for the future.  One only knows what new developments will come two, five, ten years from now….but at least CMIR is making efforts to keep up.

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