Online Journalism Symposium Great Success

Still processing and catching up after attending the 10th International Symposium on Online Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.

The economic slowdown has really exacerbated the technology-driven changes already transforming our craft for some time now. Advertising dollars migrate from newspapers and magazines to the Internet. Cutbacks and shutdowns reduce our numbers. We all scramble to adapt and to continue our respective missions.

I use the word “laboratory” to describe this symposium. Rosental Calmon Alves pulled together journalists from around the world to bring their latest tools, techniques and ideas to the table, throw them in the mix and get a collective sense of where our craft is going.

I delivered two presentations, the first in English and the second in Spanish, about how backpack journalism is filling the void left by conventional media. Especially for news and information from abroad, conventional media outlets no longer have the muscle or the will to send traditional production teams of four or five people to cover important events and issues.

That’s where backpack journalism comes in. And I don’t mean “citizen journalism,” because high-tech gear can never replace quality journalism executed by professionals properly trained in the language that is “visual journalism.”