With the school year underway, let’s explore how to implement Journalist’s Toolbox into a classroom rather than focus on a single tool this month.
College professors and high school journalism teachers have used the site for more than 25 years, mainly for research purposes. But you can do much more with it, as professors at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Oregon have shown.
Bob Jonason, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Cincinnati, said he has trained his students on many tools from the Journalist’s Toolbox, including:
- Adobe Kuler Color Generator, which students in his media design class used to select a color scheme for a web design assignment.
- Infogram, used by students in his multimedia project class to create charts and graphics.
- The Verification Handbook, which is required reading for his editing class.
- The Student Reporting Guidelines During COVID-19, an assigned reading in his capstone class this past year.
But Jonason is taking his work with the Toolbox a step further. He’s in the early stages of designing an elective “toolbox class” that will be offered in fall 2022. He’s writing learning objectives, developing modules and assignments that merge digital tools and storytelling in one class.
“I believe our curriculum needs a class where students can learn tools that will enable them to be more productive, to help them gather, verify and analyze information, and to empower them to create more visually engaging content,” said Jonason, who added that teaching technology and teaching great journalism aren’t mutually exclusive.
“The key, I think, is not just demonstrating the technology to students but showing them how to incorporate it in their work to become better journalists.”
Damian Radcliffe at the University of Oregon challenged his students to choose an application linked off the Toolbox to write a reflection paper for his digital journalism class. He tweeted about it in May:
Excited to see which tools they play around with! 🤓
— Damian Radcliffe (@damianradcliffe) May 19, 2021
So if you have an idea how to implement Journalist’s Toolbox into a class or seminar, let me know about it. DM me on Twitter @journtoolbox.
Quick tip: Editors loathe the use of the word very in stories. Want a tool to help you work around the use of very, try Lose the Very. It gives you a field to type a word in after very and it gives you synonyms to the term “very —–.” For example, type in smart after very to convert the term “very smart” into “bright.” It’s an intuitive tool and even lets you add terms to the database.
Find more resources on JournalistsToolbox.org. Subscribe to our free, twice-monthly newsletter full of tips, tricks and tools. And subscribe to our free YouTube channel with more than 60 training videos. Follow Mike on Twitter @journtoolbox