6 Exceptional multimedia student projects

Journalism classes and schools, like professional newsrooms, have the opportunity to create large-scale multimedia projects that are the product of a collaboration between participants. These projects focus on a single subject or issue and tell one story in multiple ways.

The label “student journalist” for some may conjure up images of second-rate work that is not ready for prime time. However, the projects below show just how great the multimedia journalism produced by J-schools students are and the potential student groups have to create interesting, vibrant, and diverse multimedia news stories.

1. Hunger in the Golden State

A project of the USC Annenberg School for Journalism & Communication and California Watch, Hunger in the Golden State explores the problem of food scarcity and waste among California residents and what’s being done about it. The humanity of the stories included on the site is augmented by the different ways they are told: the site includes print stories, slideshows, radio broadcasts, and social media components.

2. BARThood

Students at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism tell the stories of the patrons of BART — the San Francisco Bay Area transit system — in this comprehensive online news package. Among the text stories and slideshows that are common to this type of project, is an interesting data component for each BART station. A stylish data visualization appears on each page that illustrates statistics like the ethnicity and income level of riders and mode of transportation to the station.

3. Greening the Grid

Greening the Grid, a 2009 project of the students of the University of Miami School of Communication (look for online journalism titan Greg Linch among its participants), documents sustainable energy projects in the Czech Republic and the United States. Among the individual stories is this video that illustrates a farm powered by cow manure and this one documenting a 1981 Mercedes Benz powered by discarded vegetable oil.

4. Streets of Dreams: People and Places of Downtown Phoenix

The students of ASU’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications encourage you to follow along as they explore the passions of the residents of Phoenix, Arizona and the city they call home. The story of several Phoenix neighborhoods and the unique people who live there are illustrated by video, photo, and text stories.

5. Multimedia Standards

Unlike the previously mentioned projects, Multimedia Standards, also produced by University of Miami students focuses on the craft of journalism itself. Participants questioned leaders in online/digital journalism about the state of the industry and presented the recorded answers in an easily navigable grid. The site also includes a useful “Resources” page with links to RSS feeds to some of the top journalism blogs on the web.

6. Powering a Nation: The Truth About Energy

News21, a collaborative initiative of several universities across the United States, produces several outstanding multimedia projects every year. UNC Chapel Hill’s “Powering a Nation” is one of several standouts and tackles the issue of energy in the United States. Like other News21 projects, the site features print stories, interactive elements, and more. The students pushed the story even further by creating interactive news games that invite readers to solve real problems like balancing carbon emissions and energy use.

Also on 10,000 Words:

3 Ways journalism classes are making education more interactive
News media and college students: A match made in heaven?
Journalism Grads: 30 Things You Should Do This Summer