The exciting fast paced world of multimedia journalism

By: Gabriella Gonzalez

Journalism is a changing world because of the fairly new popular concept of multimedia journalism.

According to Western Preserve Public Media’s website, “Multimedia journalists gather information, write stories, make broadcasts and use social media to keep the public informed about current affairs and events that are happening in the world.”

So what is the difference between journalism and multimedia journalism?

“The term ‘media’ blends (and blurs) concepts of culture and technology. When uses as a synonym for journalism, the term ‘media’ pushes technology into the foreground and conceals the fact that ‘journalism’ is one thing and ‘media’ is another,” said G. Stuart Adam of

Multimedia journalism blends news with different mediums such as “video, photos, graphics, social media, reporting, writing, and ethics” said Jennifer Napier-Pearce, host of The Salt Lake Tribune’s daily web show Trib Talk.

Napier-Pearce said that the most important elements in multimedia journalism are reporting, writing, and ethics. Those three things are what journalism is all about, and journalism is the element that cannot be forgotten.

Multimedia journalism is just a different way of presenting or telling a story, Napier-Pearce said.

Napier-Pearce describes what she thinks drives this multimedia journalism as digital.

“Digital equals possibilities. Because of the digital environment we have grown up in, we have expectations,” she said.

The audience who is receiving the news has growing expectations because of all the new possibilities the digital world provides in the multimedia journalism world.

Because of these new possibilities with digital mediums, if makes journalism very competitive.

“Everybody is fighting for your eyeballs and your money,” said Napier-Pearce.

Sherwin Coelho, from The Guardian, shared his experience about being a multimedia journalism student.

“If I had to do my course (MA multimedia journalism) all over again I would have made sure I learnt shorthand, HTML, InDesign, DreamWeaver, creating infographics and data journalism — or at least the basics of each,” Coelho said.

Napier-Pearce said she learns new things all the time. Multimedia mediums are an ongoing change. There are a few factors that have changed about multimedia journalism. Napier-Pearce said she has noticed that this type of journalism is changing by the length of the stories, videos, and deadlines. People are expecting news faster, which means shorter deadline to produce news. People don’t want to read a 30-inch long story anymore. The same goes for videos — people are looking for short videos that get them the most important information the fastest.

The Salt Lake Tribune has been experimenting with this for a while, Napier-Pearce said. The Tribune is looking for ways to make Trib Talk shorter.

Overall, Pearce’s biggest challenge of the new multimedia journalism is trying to hold people’s attention.

“You can increase your audience’s attention by making your stories and videos shorter,” Napier-Pearce said,. “You can also break it up with video, pictures and chunky texts.”

Napier-Pearce described multimedia journalism as being “digital in nature” and “digital equals possibilities” so don’t be hesitant to learn new skills. You’ll need them because the digital world is in constant change, and “people have to be will to learn a new skill.”



Spy Hop Productions: a different kind of school


Spy Hop Productions teaches self expression through multimedia

If a school had students only do one or two projects a semester, would that school be considered an effective learning facility? If you were to ask students at Spy Hop Youth Media Arts and Entertainment Center, the answer might be a resounding “yes.”

Spy Hop is a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, is committed to helping students ages 13 -19 “express their voice and with it create a positive change in their lives.” It does this by using digital technologies as a means of artistic expression. Spy Hop has programs that teach students self-expression through film, audio, music, web design and video game design.

Rick Wray and Erik Dodd founded Spy Hop in 1999. At the time, Wray and Dodd owned Higher Ground Learning, a for-profit academic tutoring facility. Matt Mateus, programs director at Spy Hop, said in an interview that what Wray and Dodd discovered while tutoring became the basis for forming Spy Hop.

“They found that when they introduced film and video into their tutoring it was way more engaging for the student,” Mateus said.

Since Spy Hop also focuses on the development of the student, rather than simply teaching them technical skills, it uses self-expression as a means to teach students principles such as community awareness, emotional competency and high productivity.

“Our success really comes when youth leave here as engaged productive citizens, they succeed in the work force or higher education and have an opportunity to share their voice with the rest of the world,” Mateus said.

In an effort to achieve this, Mateus told of five fundamental goals that Spy Hop focuses on for all of its programs. These goals focus around: providing a safe after-school program, fostering artistic expression, developing educational and workplace readiness skills, developing emotional competencies and increasing media literacy, personal awareness and global connections.

The theater room at Spy Hop

To better reach its vision, Spy Hop has a unique way of working with the students.

“We’re allowed to be different from a public school system. We’re allowed to sit down and really take the time to see what each student really wants to learn,” Matues said. “We really dig into, ‘what are the activities they are doing and how does that relate to our mission?’ ‘How does that relate to our program goals?’”

Because of this teaching technique, teachers at Spy Hop are called mentors. They spend one-on-one time with each of their students to establish a trusting and respectful relationship, along with helping with their projects.

This became apparent when Mateus, who’s a mentor in the music program, was giving a tour of the studio. He noticed a game-design student eating popcorn near the computers.

“Be careful with that popcorn. I don’t want butter all over the keyboard,” Mateus said while walking by. The student responded with a respectful, “Sure thing. Sorry Matt.”

“I still keep in contact with a dozen of my old students that I go to lunch with,” Mateus said. “The feedback I get is really positive.”

Shannalee Otanez, 24, an instructor for Loud & Clear said, “I love it all. I love seeing young people feel empowered to believe in themselves, and to feel like they have something important to share.” She feels she’s in a great position as a mentor at Spy Hop since she’s a former student. “I benefited from it myself, so I get what kind of impact it can have,” she said in a phone interview.

Shalom Khokhar, right, works on his audio project.

Shalom Khokhar, 19, from South Salt Lake, has come to understand that impact as well. Khokhar is a student in the audio apprenticeship class. He said the two main things that Spy Hop has taught him are priorities and responsibility.

“Once you come in, you sit down and it’s all about your work ethic, which you can apply in your other life too, in social settings, school, education, whatever,” Khokhar said.

When asked what his favorite part of Spy Hop was, Khokhar said, “I’d say the respect that Spy Hop has toward its students. They have a certain trust that they give to students to say, ‘OK come in here, use our equipment and stay in here as long as you want.’”

Spy Hop isn’t just helping students to become better people; it also helps to prepare them for the work force. The students work on projects during after-school hours using modern digital equipment. Khokhar and his apprenticeship class, for example, are currently working on the sound for a film produced by Spy Hop called “River’s End,” which is a story about a boy who, after his dad leaves his mom, goes and plays by a river and meets an imaginary friend. Him and his friend then run away and have some adventures. Khokhar says that a project like this takes skill in sound editing which he is happy to be developing.

Mateus is proud that Spy Hop is helping to create the next work force in the industry. Along with personal and life skills, Spy Hop is providing its students with a leg up by giving them hands-on training.

“To be able to walk into a studio and say, ‘I can work for you guys. I know Pro Tools. I know where to set these microphones up,’ at 17 years old. That’s crazy,” Mateus said. “Because what are they going to be doing when they’re 25?”

Spy Hop and UNP: Shining some light on the west side of Salt Lake City

Story and photo by COLLIN McLACHLAN

What if you turned on the radio and heard this: “A young man was stabbed today in a probable gang fight in Bountiful.” Would you be surprised? Now imagine if the radio said it was in Rose Park.

“Stereotypes don’t reflect crime statistics,” said Sarah Munro, associate director of University Neighborhood Partners.

Founded Nov. 1, 2002, UNP is a program that “brings together University and west side resources for reciprocal learning, action, and benefit.” According to its website, UNP collaborates with communities and nonprofit organizations in an effort to “provide access to higher education.” Its drive comes from the idea that education is the key to strengthening both families and communities.

“UNP is not a service organization,” Munro said. “What we do is meet with local nonprofit organizations on the west side and establish partnerships that will benefit the community.”

UNP has many challenges to its work. “The difficult thing is that people want to know what changes are happening,” Munro said.

She said it’s difficult for UNP to measure its success because success doesn’t come from UNP’s work alone. Since its main focus is to create partnerships, UNP finds success when its partners do.

This doesn’t mean that success cannot be tracked. One organization that UNP has partnered with in the past is Spy Hop Productions.

Spy Hop Productions works to help students on the west side.

Spy Hop Productions is a youth media arts and educational enrichment center. Spy Hop’s purpose, according to its website, is to “empower youth to express their voice and with it create a positive change in their lives.”

According to the site, Spy Hop works with some 1,800 students every year in the fields of documentary arts, video production, audio engineering, music and interactive media. Founded in 1999, Spy Hop has been “acknowledged by the Sundance Institute as setting the standard for media arts learning across the nation.”

Students learn things at Spy Hop that go beyond the classroom. “These kids are being taught to express themselves in a positive way,” said Virginia Pearce, director of Marketing and Community Programs in a phone interview. “It gives the kids a chance to be proud of something, which goes a long way.” A lot of students at Spy Hop live on the west side and come from backgrounds which Spy Hop refers to as “underprivileged.”

Spy Hop works directly with its students over long-term mentor-based instruction. The students get hands-on tutoring as they work on media stories, documentaries or music recordings. “There are so many success stories, I couldn’t think of just one,” Pearce said.

Matt Mateus, a programs director at Spy Hop, shared one student’s story that can be counted as a success for both Spy Hop and UNP. He says a student who grew up in Rose Park in an underprivileged family came to Spy Hop wanting to be a recording engineer. But he needed special classes that Spy Hop couldn’t provide. Spy Hop did, however, have contacts with universities that offered those classes. After the student had worked to raise the money, Spy Hop helped to send him to a school in Arizona that had a recording engineer program. “That student now works in Salt Lake where he owns his own recording studio,” Mateus said in a phone interview.

Spy Hop and UNP do still share a common belief that drives each organization. “Preparing students for higher education is directly related to Spy Hop’s programming goals,” Mateus said. The organization collaborates with Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) quite a bit.

“A lot of our students are underserved,” Mateus said. “They usually don’t have the opportunity to jump into the U of U, so they go to SLCC.”

These types of success stories are different from the articles normally published in the newspaper.

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