Welcome to “Boston Moments.” Or, as one student in this fall’s digital reporting workshop at the University of New Hampshire came to call it: “13 Students. One city.”
In some ways, this class reporting project was that simple: Descend by train on Boston on a Friday morning and head out in search of stories.
But there was a bigger goal for these students, who had been using digital tools to report for individual news blogs throughout the semester. The aim of Boston Moments – from choosing the project focus, to working with a web designer to create this digital home, to reporting and producing the individual multimedia stories – was for students to work as a team to publish journalism for a wider audience.
The assignment in Boston was for each student to enter a world in the city by profiling a person or a place with the digital tools they had been working with all semester. One member of the class, Jack Gilman, served as site editor, checking stories for formatting, grammar, and style. He was instructed to edit lightly, revising stories that students could still call their own.
The UNH Journalism Program has a rich tradition of teaching fundamentals of reporting – verification, interviewing, ethics, and more – in hands-on writing workshops. In English 631: Introduction to Digital Reporting, students learn basic audio, photo, and video skills to begin to explore the rich potential of multimedia storytelling. The focus, always, is on using these powerful tools as journalists.
In reporting Boston Moments, each student chose a subject and interviewed for story. They chose the mix of media – sounds, images, video, or written words – with which they would tell the story. And they embraced another critical element of the craft: During a mid-semester visit, Dan Kloeffler, a UNH alum and ABC News anchor, encouraged each student to become an “expert in curiosity.” Curiosity fuels good reporting in any medium.
This project would not have been possible without the financial support of the McLean Contributionship, which created the McLean Family Fund for Journalism Excellence to support digital journalism education at UNH. Funds from that grant paid for transportation to and from Boston. They also paid for the services of web designer Amanda Crisp, a UNH alum who met with students to brainstorm the website design, which she created and produced. The collaboration was as real as that which occurs in any newsroom. Amanda went the extra mile as deadlines approached to make sure the journalism was featured well across digital platforms.
I hope you enjoy the work of these young journalists: Stories of 12 unique Boston moments from a single Friday afternoon.