Jeff Lemberg - Communication/Multimedia Journalism


When Assistant Professor of Communication Jeff Lemberg arrived at Curry College, part of his charge was moving the program curriculum into the multimedia world - a world that has become increasingly important, especially within the media industry, and one that demands a broad set of skills for success.

Lemberg, who specializes in Journalism and Media Studies, puts a high priority on teaching these comprehensive skills, as well as providing the opportunity for hands-on learning and experience.

"I really emphasize what it takes to produce a great piece of journalism, and, because the technology quickly gets outdated, teaching students how to learn. So it's about skepticism, research, relationship building, problem solving and critical thinking and writing."

And importantly, these core skills taught and learned through multimedia journalism, can also be applied in a variety of industries.

"What's nice about Curry is that we have a very diverse Communication department; I work with students whose primary focus is public relations, others whose interests lie with TV broadcasting or with newspaper/web work for example."

One of the most prevalent social technologies, widely adopted by all these professional communication fields, is a microblogging platform that you may have heard of. 

"I incorporate Twitter a lot into my courses. One, it's about source development; how do you use this as a network to expand your circle? The second is getting students to write concisely."

Hands-on learning is vital and has a real utility once in the professional world, so during the recent 2012 Presidential election Lemberg had his students tweeting their reactions live about the debates.

"Social media is flooded with 'I think,' so I've been teaching how to use it for reporting - What did you observe?  What happened? How do you tell stories to those who need information?"

And as the advisor to the student-run newspaper, The Currier Times, Lemberg has continued this focus on where the media industry is currently, and where it's headed -all to better prepare his students for life after Curry.

For example, before his arrival the paper was only offered in print form, but it's now transitioned online and reports the news to the community through many different story-telling technologies.

"One of the first things we did was build a website and got students thinking more about the packaging of content. Not because it's faddish and the thing to do, but because that's where the industry is."

Students are now blogging, doing photo slideshows, podcasting, using video and learning about the importance of linking out to things to provide context to their reporting. 

All things that students now need to know to have options in the industry.

And this approach's success is illustrated by communication students currently interning and working at such places as The Patriot Ledger, The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald.

"Twenty years ago you really wanted to specialize in something and today the news media are looking for people who are a 'jack of all trades.'"

"And that's one of the greatest values of multimedia, you need to be able to write the long-form story, but you also need to be able to tweet about breaking news as it happens. You need to do your own photography and shoot your own video and to edit it all." 

And as a communication professor today it's imperative to keep an eye on industry trends and changes as the media and journalism landscapes are in a continual state of flux.

But as a journalist of 15 years, writing for newspapers such as The Boston Globe, as well as magazines (Lemberg helped launch a sports magazine in the late 90s, which was later sold to ESPN) and websites, he's witnessed a lot.

And when talking about his thoughts/predictions about these upcoming changes Lemberg believes that "long-form [journalism] isn't going anywhere. I do think a lot of smaller newspapers are going to curtail their publishing, so you're not going to see 7-day-a week newspapers in the same number you do today."

A good deal of them will likely move to nondaily print publishing, with a large Sunday edition and a Tuesday and Thursday edition, he suggests.

"There is always going to be a need for credible information. The problem is, how do you monetize it?" 

Although the future business model of journalism is a murky and much debated topic, being a faculty member at Curry has its clear advantages according to Lemberg.

"What's nice about Curry is that it's a small school, so as a professor you have the opportunity to develop courses and experiment more than you would at a larger school."

"Another appeal is that it's first and foremost a teaching college. We put a priority on working with the students, and that's what I enjoy doing."


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