October 19, 2010

Knight Center concludes popular online Spanish course “Digital Media Product Development”

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas has concluded its online Spanish-language course “Digital Media Product Development,” a popular class that was held for the third time from Nov. 14–Dec. 17, 2010. The course was taught by veteran journalist Hiram Enriquez, who currently works for Univision Interactive Media.

When “Digital Media Product Development” was first offered at the beginning of this year, more than 450 journalists applied from all over Latin America for a course with only 40 spaces.

“I’m glad that the Knight Center decided to offer this course again, based on the feedback from the students in the previous course who found it interesting and useful,” Enriquez said. “I hope that as we continue to offer these types of courses we are able to include more and more journalists and editors that could really benefit from looking into the most crucial aspect of the digital media.”

The course was conducted entirely online. It focused on the basics of creating digital media projects, such as content strategy, Search Engine Optimization, content syndication, socialitics, metrics, and other aspects. It was divided into weekly modules that contain audiovisual presentations, weekly exercises, online discussions and forums and additional assignments. Students worked at their own pace, according to their own schedule but were expected to complete weekly assignments. Those who completed the course satisfactorily will receive a certificate of participation from the Knight Center.

“The course is designed with highly personalized exercises. Students complete those assignments based on their own projects that they are working on, or plan to work on, and I work with all of them to make sure that they are on the right track,” Enriquez said. “The previous group produced very interesting projects and I hope that some of those will at some point become a reality in some form or another. I also hope that we see the same results from this new group.”

The Knight Center charged participants an administrative fee of $50 to cover a small portion of the operations of the distance learning course, which is funded by the Knight Center through a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. However, a limited number of scholarships were available to students unable to pay the fee.

“The Knight Center has already trained more than 4,000 journalists through its pioneer and innovative distance learning program, which has been totally free for the students until now,” said Professor Rosental Alves, the Knight Center’s director. “But we thought we could charge a small amount to participants of some courses, as a little help for our finances, but also as a demonstration that the journalists themselves give a value, even if symbolic, to the course.”

For more information about the class, see the Course Information Sheet.

Hiram Enriquez is a former program director for Yahoo! Hispanoamérica in charge of editorial operations for Yahoo’s Spanish-language sites. He also was the creator and presenter for the CNN in Spanish program “Digital Zone,” which focused on topics related to the Internet and personal technology. Enriquez also writes about digital media, communication and information networks for his blog, Digital Stucco.

The Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin was launched in 2002 by professor Rosental Calmon Alves. Thanks to generous grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the center has assisted thousands of journalists in Latin America and the Caribbean.