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Can I haz CSS coding?

November 2, 2009

Here’s an excerpt of what I did today in my interactive class:

  • chatted with three friends simultaneously
  • posted on a classmate’s facebook wall
  • looked up books on CSS and working with Adobe’s Dreamweaver on Amazon (the irony of that is not lost one me: I was looking up how to teach myself what I’m supposed to be learning in that exact class)
  • researched some events to cover for this week
  • learned that the founder of “Can I Haz Cheeseburger?” graduated from Medill
Twitter-interaction to keep the spirits up

Twitter-interaction to keep the spirits up

You get it: That class is really awful. The only good part of it tonight was that I had to try really hard to not laugh out loud with all the twitter/facebook/chatting flurry going on. But really, it’s not that funny.

For once, it doesn’t teach me something essential to my future in journalism. It doesn’t even teach me something nonessential that would still look nice on my resume (such as CSS coding).

I want to be a reporter. I want to tell stories, not code web pages. If I want to learn how to code web pages, then only to tell stories better. I definitely don’t want to sit around every Monday night watching someone paste things into a document.

It comes back to that old problem Medill seems to have with its current transition to teaching “21st-century journalism.”

It’s not about learning how to use programs. It’s about telling stories. The program are only tools to do that.

A couple of years from now, we will probably use completely different tools to convey information – but the reporting, the basic understanding and techniques, will remain. That’s what should be taught. Not which shortcuts to use, or where to paste this code or that.

I wish this class was different.

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3 Comments
  1. Don’t cry, honey, code harder :-*

  2. I came to Medill specifically for their interactive storytelling concentration. I didn’t come at all for Journalism so I’m on the other end of what you’re saying above :p

    I love interactive class like no other. I want to be the person fiddling with the code. While you think you may be learning just “a program,” know that HTML and CSS have been around since the internet started (I understand journalism has happened more often, but how many print newspapers have died in the past 10 years due to internet usage increase?).

    Sure you can write and write and write. But unless you have the tools to get it up on the web (or know someone who does), you’re stuck with print.

    Chin up! I think this is the only class so far that I’ve been happy to take 🙂

  3. curiousinchicago permalink

    the thing is though, if you want to be a reporter and work at any news organization – do you think they’d let me anywhere near their code? That would very much suprise me.
    I’m all for multimedia journalism, but for me, that’s on the storytelling end, not the coding end. I realize it’s useful to know, it’s just not taught in a way that makes that connection – at least not in my class.
    You’re in the other section (Jill’s, right?). From what I’ve heard, that is the only section of the class that’s actually cool and teaching you things. I’ll be switching there momentarily, I hope!
    Sonja showed me some stuff the other day and I think that I may be able to like it. The class is just incredibly annoying and badly taught.

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