Have you heard? The journalism industry is in crisis.
But this impending catastrophe is not what one might expect. I'm not about to herald the end of print newspaper, the decline of readership, or the like. Rather, the predicament facing journalists today is in how to embrace the digital -- in deciding which technologies journalists should use, and how. Overwhelmed by a flood of flashy gadgets, plug-ins and software released every day, journalists must identify and adopt the right tools. There's a desire to be on the cutting edge, but it is mediated by a need to be reasonable and realistic. The idea of wading through all of our options is daunting.
This is the case for professional and student journalists alike. I fall firmly in the latter category, but even from my limited experience, one thing is clear: The best new technologies are the tools that assist in achieving your goals. As is the case with technology in the classroom, it's crucial that the tools you adopt facilitate your work, rather than hinder it.
With that in mind, I'd like to share five of my favorite technological tools for student journalists. The Pioneer, the weekly student paper at my school, has seen a lot of different approaches to technology in its time, and this is only a sampling of my experience. Technology can serve many diverse purposes, depending on the goal to be achieved. To keep me from getting too lengthy, this list focuses in particular upon what I'd call "internal use" technologies, which the editorial team at The Pioneer employs to improve our workflow. These are the tools that fundamentally assist us in achieving this goal.
- WordPress.org: As the web software that we use to publish our site, WordPress serves two purposes. First, it helps us organize our content for print production and web publication; second, well, it is the framework upon which our website rests. With a friendly user interface, a huge online support community, customizable themes and thousands of plug-ins, I have found that, as a content management system, WordPress really suits the needs of our student publication.