According to Anne Belden, a journalism professor and advisor to The Oak Leaf, the student newspaper, the department is looking at:
— A new multimedia reporting class begins Jan. 15 and runs 9 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. See the school website for registration information. Former CBS News staff member Brian Antonson is the teacher. The school has ordered $10,000 worth of new equipment for the class, using part of a vocational training grant awarded last June by the Career Technical Education Association.
— A "transfer major" associate's degree in journalism that will make it easier to transition to a four-year journalism school program in the California State University system. The JC already has a two-year associate's degree in journalism, but the program's course requirements are not specifically matched up to allow for easy transfer to a state college.
With the "transfer major," students' requirements will be exactly matched for a four-year program transition. The "transfer major" is still working through the approval process, but is expected to be on board sometime next year, Belden said.
— A proposed digital journalism certificate program that could be used by new journalists who want to enhance their focus on multimedia, or by veteran reporters and editors who just want a "digital overlay" on their career skills without having to pay for a full degree program.
The certificate program has not yet been approved, but talks are under way, Belden said. The new multimedia reporting class, described above, would likely be one of the key components of the certificate program.
"You're not as hire-able in today's market without the digital media and Web skills," Belden said. "Having this training opens up many more job possibilities."
Belden, also head of the SRJC's journalism advisory committee of local media representatives, said the days are over when a budding reporter could work his or her way up to a newsroom staff job by starting out writing obituaries or being a copy assistant.
"Nowadays, you need the Web skills, the digital editing skills," Belden said. "You don't get in the door writing obits anymore."
Belden said while all journalism students need the foundational writing and reporting skills -- i.e. how to do an interview, how to write a news story, how to organize notes, etc. -- all the four-year journalism schools now also require students to have multimedia expertise.
"You're not just a writer," she said. "You need to know how to shoot photos and videos, how to upload photos and stories to the Web, do podcasts and digital editing."