Journalism students at UO profile artists, musicians

Bonnie Simoa in her office at Lane Community College (credit: Sara Sebastian)
Bonnie Simoa in her office at Lane Community College (credit: Sara Sebastian)

Whether working in open spaces throughout Allen Hall or in classrooms, students in the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication benefit from the shared knowledge of their peers.

Last spring, professor Tom Wheeler and 15 students took that collaborative vibe on the road with the inaugural Journalism Arts Multimedia Workshop.

During the 10-week course, students in the workshop visited the studios and performance spaces of local musicians, dancers, sculptors and painters. In teams made up of a photographer, videographer, and a writer, the students prepared a multimedia package on each artist including a written article, photo essay and a short video.

“We weren’t reading from a ‘how-to’ textbook but instead learning and living with people who have made a difference in the world,” said Bryan Kalbrosky, a workshop participant. “At 20 years old, thanks to the JAM Workshop, I was able to interview and tell the story of one of the most prolific guitarists in rock history, Bill Harkleroad.”

Profile topics included photographer Melissa Mankins, soul singer Deb Cleveland and Balinese dancer Bonnie Simoa. The students’ work was featured on KVAL.

By working in teams, students also learned from each other.

“The students benefited from collaborating on teams with colleagues whose skills and specialties differed from their own,” Wheeler said. “In this way the experience reflected the kind of work environment we see developing in the profession.”

Completed packages include:

Photographer Captures Magical Moments
Local Theater Company Ponders Future
Día De La Artist
For the Record
Photographer Puts New Life into Old Film

“It's important to learn journalistic fundamentals in lecture halls,” Kalbrosky said. “But the JAM Workshop allowed us to work in a truly professional environment. Sharing my multimedia work on television was humbling as a student.”

- from a story by the UO School of Journalism and Communication