July 1, 2019

Meet the Backpack Journalists: Communication Students Take On the News

by Maxwell Mastrogiacomo ’20 (anticipated)

Learn by doing is the approach Mark Grabowski, JD, associate professor of communications, takes in his Web Journalism course. One video story made by students Gabriella Marra ’19 and Nicole Garcia showcased Adelphi’s plans to renovate the Ruth S. Harley University Center. Jim Perrino, executive vice president of finance and administration, detailed what plans the campus has for the renovations in an interview for the video. Students James Giella and Rachel Foley spoke about their impressions as well.


Another news story, this one reported by student Daniela Krslovic, covered the planned Innovation Center, which will be located in Swirbul Library. Zachary Johnson, PhD, assistant professor of decision sciences and marketing, who spent a semester as a Viret Family Faculty Leadership Fellow to help plan the center, discussed his hopes for the center. Student intern Payton McCarthy was also interviewed.

When assigning stories for his Web Journalism class, Grabowski has students engage in what’s called backpack journalism—using mobile tools such as iPhones and tabletop tripods.

“We do have more high-end video cameras available, but they are mostly used by students in the TV news and film classes,”said Grabowski. “The latest smartphones shoot pretty good video—in fact, some full-length feature movies have been shot using iPhones. With tripods and microphone attachments, they are more than adequate for news videos.

“Although these videos are being done for a class assignment, our journalism program is very hands-on and professionally oriented in its training,” he added. “As such, I encourage students to go out into the world and report on topics that are newsworthy. Their work is published online, in student media and sometimes in community media because journalism is done for the public.”


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