Articles by Jeff Howe

  • Article

    New graduate program helps mid-career journalists acquire new storytelling skills

    March 18, 2014 by Jeff Howe

    New graduate program helps mid-career journalists acquire new storytelling skills

    northeastern

    Jeff Howe is assistant professor of journalism and director of the Media Innovation Program at Northeastern University. Below, he writes about the new track for the Master of Arts in journalism, which is supported by Knight Foundation. Photo credit: Flickr user Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

    Like a stock market crash, disruption creates its own brand of delusion. I remember spending an afternoon sipping iced tea in the Beverly Hills backyard of a seasoned music executive. It was 2003. Revenues from CDs had cratered, and the labels couldn’t figure out a way to compete with free. Panic was in the air, but not here. “The music business is booming,” he said. “It’s the recording industry that’s [in trouble].” Propelled by new distribution channels and cheap-but-powerful audio editing software, more musicians were reaching more audiences than any previous time in history. The delusion, of course, was conflating business with creation.

    So it is with storytelling. Making money off journalism has become more difficult, but finding passionate audiences for true stories well told has never been easier, or more exciting. Journalists have access to more information, more tools, more mediums and more venues than our predecessors could have ever imagined.

    At Northeastern University, we’re changing journalism education to reflect this new reality. The plain truth is that the skills journalists need lie outside the traditional curriculum of journalism. An interdisciplinary grad program isn’t just an option; it’s a necessity. In September, thanks to the support of Knight Foundation, we will launch the Media Innovation Program. We have one goal: to retrain storytellers for the 21st century, whether that means teaching them Web design, social media, data visualization or game theory. We can do this because Northeastern hosts some of the finest instructors in all these fields.

  • Article

    Northeastern University J-school and Esquire magazine partner on digital storytelling lab

    December 5, 2014 by Jeff Howe

    Northeastern University J-school and Esquire magazine partner on digital storytelling lab

     Jeff Howe is an assistant professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Knight Foundation recently funded a master’s degree program at Northeastern to help mid-career journalists meet the needs of 21st-century newsrooms. Earlier this year Northeastern University’s School of Journalism received a Knight Foundation grant to launch a Media Innovation graduate program. Students—mostly mid-career journalists and the occasional newly minted J-school grad—would pursue one story over the 18-month course of study. We’d let the story discover its own media, so to speak, rather than, say, imposing an interactive treatment on a piece that wants to be a photo essay. Then we would crack open the considerable resources of Northeastern University to our students. Javascript, data scraping, digital videography—each student writes their own ticket, like a Knight Fellowship with a degree at the end.

    In the final semester we would work assiduously to place the story with a well-respected media outlet. Poker isn’t poker without money, and journalism isn’t journalism without readers. Since we mostly acquire the craft in a newsroom, we figured we’d bring the newsroom into the university. So far, and to our great pleasure, reality has followed the blueprint.