What is so exciting about Interactive Journalism?

Last week the new students of the MA Interactive Journalism at City University London received a kind message from the course’s director, Tom Felle.

In his mail, Felle congratulated us for “gaining a place on one of the most highly coveted postgraduate degree prorammes in Europe” and, after massaging our egos, he promised an intense and challenging year ahead for all of us.

I couldn’t expect less.

I come from a print newspaper background. Before moving to London, I was a reporter at a trade newspaper in São Paulo covering the advertising industry, specially its digital side. A common issue when reporting was how marketers and creative agencies were figuring out ways to deliver branding messages to a consumer that has his attention increasingly fragmented.

By covering advertising, I had the opportunity to watch closely what was going on in the Brazilian media industry, especially in the journalistic one. As elsewhere, news consumers are moving fast from print to Internet. And so are advertisers.

However, even with a consistent growth, digital revenues do not replace the losses from the print side. This great article from New York Magazine about the battle to save Time Inc., a once emperor which is struggling to figure out its future, gives an overview of what is it like to be a magazine these days, or to be any other print media outlet. It is a wicked tricky game!

When I decided to look for a masters, I felt there were a lot to be understood about digital. I also felt that news enterprises would only be successful if they embrace digitalization.

The question is, how to make it profitable? And, most of all, how to keep the core principles of journalism in the digital era instead of trading it for Likes and page views – and still keep it financially good?

The MA I choose seems to offer some answers to that. Its focus on data-journalism will help us to be able to report on a complex environment, where information is abundant, not scarce, and filtering is essential.

We will be learning about new forms of storytelling – and finding one that will get back the attention from news consumers seems the Holy Grail these days.

There will also be classes about entrepreneurial journalism and online journalism, which, I believe, will bring an interesting opportunity for students to debate new forms of funding and publishing.

Soon me and other journalists of my age will be in newsrooms in different parts of the world, forming a new generation of professionals that have many years ahead of work in the journalism industry.

We have to be prepared to contribute to the on-going transformation of the global media landscape. It means we got a lot to learn.

This is what I find so exciting about this course. I feel it is my first step into the future.

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