The Davies Forum is back this semester and has several speakers lined up who will share their experience in “Remaking the News”. The class will explore and learn how citizen journalists have remade the news to benefit citizens, journalists and social movement groups. In addition, the 15 students enrolled in the class will create a conference and invite speakers from the Bay Area that reflect their interests.
Last spring, USF media studies professor and director of the Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies David Silver taught the Davies Forum class, which delved into the topic of digital literacy. According to Silver’s blog, www.silverinsf.blogspot.com, his philosophy for Davies students was to “log off before you blog off,” meaning to learn through hands on experimenting before trying to blog and analyze a topic. Silver considers teaching the Davies Forum Digital Literacy class an honor.
Each year, the opportunity is available for any professor to make a proposal to the committee regardless of his or her department. This year another media studies professor, Dorothy Kidd, will bring her documentary filmmaking experience and media knowledge to the course to tackle the recent surge in citizen journalism.
Kidd said, “The old news model is either dying or morphing.” She said that we are “on the cusp of new sets of models developing.” Kidd is optimistic about the transition of the news model because she said the mainstream media has underrepresented women’s groups, the poor and others who have been affected by global poverty.
The 15 students enrolled in the course will be introducing and documenting the speakers and participating in the conferences. A final project will be the presentation of a documentary, or another media model, that will discuss new platforms in independent journalism and innovation.
One advantage of the Davies Forum, Kidd said, is that it allows students who are focused on what they are doing to go into depth in the digital demo portion of the class.
Steven Barnett, a former USF student who took the course last spring, said, “I consider the class the most influential and inspiring I have enjoyed in my college experience because of the relevance of the topic and the intimate setting of our class discussions.”
Chris Begley, a junior media studies major, described the current Davies Forum class as close-knit. He said that he knew most of the students and that, while the class is open to students of all majors, most were media studies majors. Said Begley, “I am excited to hear their (speakers’) opinions of what the news today really looks like.”
While the upcoming entrée of speakers includes representatives from independent media, like Alex Gibney, Jose Vargas and Paul Jay, Begley expressed an interest in hearing from an anchor or personality from a large news network.
Kidd said that it is important for the students to have an opportunity to participate and select and arrange the speakers for the final conference. “Young people think news is politics and economics,” said Kidd. “It’s also about culture, music, literature…stories that are important to share.”
The first Davies Forum speaker is Paul Jay, from the Independent World Television and Real News Network. He will speak on Thursday, Feb. 19. This event is free and open to the public.