Journalism 496M prepares writers for real world's challenges

By Jennifer Quilici

Arizona Daily Wildcat

A new course in the University of Arizona's journalism department is "getting students ready for the real world," said Dick Bakkerud, the course's creator and instructor.

Journalism 496M, Directions in News Technologies, was created by Bakkerud and the journalism department specifically to address UA President Manuel Pacheco's statement that the department "needed to develop journalism to be on the cutting edge of technology," Bakkerud said.

Suzie E. Barr, a family studies senior enrolled in 496M said, "It's the new technology, it's used everywhere."

The course helps future journalists with new technologies like three-dimensional journalism that will continue even after the turn of the century, Bakkerud said.

The purpose of the new course is to teach students electronic and online publishing principles and practices, he said.

Bakkerud stressed that the foundation of the course is to combine two of the most rapidly growing segments in professional journalism electronic publishing of special interest magazines and online publishing via the Internet and the World Wide Web.

The journalism department works together with the Center for Computing Information Technology in order to provide students with the best computer labs, available equipment and software on campus, Bakkerud said.

During the semester, students enrolled in 496M learn to use software programs such as Pagemaker 5.0, Quark Xpress 3.3, Photoshop 3.0 and Netscape 1.2. Students also learn to write the Hyper Text Markup Language used with online publishing.

Barr said the course material is intense if you have no background with the programs, but said that Bakkerud is available for demonstration and additional tutoring if students need it.

The UA Department of Journalism is the first of the three Arizona state universities to offer a course of this nature to its students.

At Arizona State University, in Tempe, a department spokesman said that computers are integrated in some of the journalism courses but there is no one specific course.

At Northern Arizona University, in Flagstaff, the communications department spokesman said that in the Spring of 1996 the departments are adding a visual technology and multi-media course for journalism students.

Bakkerud is proud of the UA's leadership in this new technology which he feels is "pretty important."

"A clear understanding of these developments and a capability to participate in such technological processes is vital for all journalism students advancing into the 20th century," Bakkerud said.

Last year the journalism department created Journalism Technology Day, which included exhibits from computer companies such as Apple and software companies such as QuarkXpress, geared toward UA students and local high school students.

The department will host technology day again on Dec. 1, but this year they are expanding it and offering a special competition for all Arizona high school students, Bakkerud said.

Awards will include scholarships, software, and cash for the best design of a desktop publication or online publication.

It is essential to target future students and journalists at all levels, Bakkerud said, in order to prepare them for new technologies that are quickly approaching.

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