Winter Break Assignment: Master Web Tools Every Journalist Should Know

Having completed my fall semester as a sophomore Journalism major this morning, it is awfully nice to sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. Yet not even 24 hours have passed and already there is a nagging feeling at the back of my mind: what should I do with all this time? With over a month sans schoolwork ahead, I am determined not to waste these precious weeks on junk food and MTV reality shows (though the controversy spurred by the fist-pumping “Jersey Shore” cast is certainly compelling). Instead, I want to learn as much as I can about web programming, design and tools like HTML and CSS.

My interest stems from the current emphasis on journalists learning multimedia tools in order to succeed in today’s digital age. As new media journalist Vadim Lavrusik so aptly described in his post, “8 Must-Have Traits of Tomorrow’s Journalist,” aspiring journalists must reconfigure their skill set to include, and eventually master, not only the fundamentals of journalism but also multimedia storytelling, blogging, web programming, business and, of course, a willingness to learn new skills. Throughout my Introduction to Professional Writing class this semester, I was definitely challenged to adapt to these expectations and though I still have only the most rudimentary understanding of HTML, I was able to build a functional website using Dreamweaver (check it out!).

So, back to my ambitious goal. Tomorrow I will be heading to the library to check out a few instructional manuals and will go from there. Ideally, I hope to become more familiar with HTML and CSS, learn some more about Dreamweaver and overall, be more confidant using new digital tools. As a way to keep track of my progress, I intend to post updates and interesting tips I learn along the way. In the meantime, take a peak at this list of open source programs for Macs. Cyberduck, Smultron and Nvu all look like software that may come in handy throughout my endeavor.

Cartoon about web design credentials
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