If Gutenberg's press revolutionized the printed word in the world, then Internet could be the next step in transforming the printed word in cyberspace. Journalism instructor Bruce Henderson believes so strongly in the power of Internet and on-line publishing, that he created the class, Electronic Journalism, JOUR 4562/5562.
Henderson formed the class to give students a chance to think about and experience a part of the future. "There is no doubt in my mind that newspapers are migrating into an on-line world," said Henderson. "On-line publications don't have the expenses of printing and don't use up natural resources such as trees." Students not only learn how to publish on-line, but are encouraged to study its related issues of copyright, First Amendment and liability, privacy, design, advertising, community, and on-line reporting and editing.
"We're all pioneers here, " said Kristina Ross, course assistant. "The School of Journalism and Mass Communication has a real stake in getting involved with Internet as soon as possible." The Internet is home to more than 20 daily newspapers in the United States and many more national magazines like Time and Wired are located in archives. The University of Colorado's own weekly campus newspaper, The Campus Press, is located on-line on the Boulder Community Network, a local on-line system of bulletin boards and links to other sites like the Electronic Newsstand.
Henderson first published an on-line version of Campus Press as a downloadable Hypercard document about one and a half years ago, published on the Boulder bulletin system called One Net. The document included photos, headlines, text, and sound connected to related information. Yet Henderson found downloading tiresome, and experimented with the second version of the newspaper, which was simply just text. One Net users could access the paper more quickly, but without the pizazz of multimedia, and so the readers began to disappear.
"I think the design of information, having it on screen immediately, and the availability of photos, sound and movies all have a lot to do with whether people will find the publication interesting," Henderson said.
The most current Campus Press is now on-line through a multimedia software system called Mosaic. Mosaic uses sound, photos, text, and movies and links words and articles to other documents across the globe by traveling through the World Wide Web. By typing: http://bcn.boulder. co.us/campuspress/Presshome.html those interested in viewing on-line publications first hand can see the final version of the Campus Press.
"I am extremely confident that there will be opportunties out there for me after I graduate, as well as others who take this class," said Susie Becker, a student in the course and on-line editor for Campus Press. "I hope to use what I learn in this class to format an entire publication in Mosaic and get it up and running."
Along with the focus on the Campus Press, students post abstracts of computer-related articles on the class usergroup, cu.courses.jour4562. The class plans to build an on-line library of article summaries for people interested in on-line publishing.
"Computers have been a major part of the mass media in production for about 20 years," said Henderson. "Only lately have computers been used as a tool to gather information." This tool of publishing on-line and understanding the concepts of this new printing revolution is what Henderson and Ross feel students must grasp before they hit the real world job market. "They [students] are the future of the Internet, because it's up to them and the other millions of Net users to define, civilize and defend the Net," said Ross. "I want our students to become thoughtful observers and users that requires gaining some sense of a `Net insider.' I want them to go native and live to tell about it," Ross said.
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