Knight Digital Media Center, New J-School Webmaster

Posted a while ago that I was going through some transitions at work, and that we were looking for a web developer. Here’s what’s going on, in a nutshell:

The J-School runs an aggressive program of multimedia training for journalists — both for students and for working journalists. We do semester-long classes in multimedia storytelling using Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro, Sound Track Pro, and a range of cameras and audio equipment. Students working in teams produce multimedia feature stories by the end of the semester — most of them excellent. We also do a compressed, one-week version of that class for working journalists who come from all over the country for training, as part of a program funded by the Knight Foundation. The program has been so successful that we’ve had trouble keeping up with its expansion.

On Monday, the Knight Foundation awarded a large grant to the J-School to build the program out into new directions and begin a new channel in internet technology training for editors and managers. And while they were at it, we also became responsible for training 600 NPR journalists in multimedia skills over the next couple of years.

On September 17, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation unveiled a $6.7 million initiative to assist news organizations facing the daunting transition to the digital world (press release). Two Knight grants – $2.8 million to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and $2.4 million to USC’s Annenberg School for Communications – were awarded to fund the expansion of the Knight Digital Media Center‘s training program for mid-career journalists. National Public Radio was awarded a two-year grant for $1.5 million to work with the Knight Digital Media Center to fund the training of roughly 600 staff members, including executives, reporters, producers and editors.

The program is accompanied by a web site containing dozens of tutorials on multimedia production software and techniques (this is the Django-based site I mentioned a few months ago). That site is slated for a huge build-out, with tons more tutorials, social networking additions, and other goodies to come, as well as a redesign that’s just getting underway now.

The short version is that I was asked to transition from my current job as webmaster for the J-School and all of its satellite sites to working nearly full-time for the Knight multimedia site. Over the summer, my office was expanded and revamped, and I’m now sharing the space with a growing group of staffers and directors of the Knight program overall.

So that’s the summary version – all very exciting :) The rub now is in finding the right person to take my previous/current job as webmaster/manager of the J-School sites. It’s an interesting mix: PHP/HTML/CSS development of custom applications and utilities, building and maintaining content management systems for student publications (mostly with WordPress, but we use other systems as well), working closely with faculty, staff and students on special projects, training, helping out in classrooms, administering an OS X Server (which I hope to move to a cPanel system before long, but that’s another story), etc. etc. It’s a jack-of-all-things-web sort of position, and we’re still looking for the just-right person. UC benefits are great, the physical environment is great, there’s access to lots of intellectual stimulation (if you can find the time, which I never can), lots of good food nearby, and a ton of variety (but look out – all that variety may kill you).

The position is still open and we’d love to hear from qualified devs who also have strong communication skills and don’t mind spreading themselves thin. If you’re burned out on the private sector and feel ready to burn yourself out on the very different – but still amazing in its own way – academic life, give it some serious thought. If not you, please pass this on to anyone you think might be a good fit!

I can’t start my new job in earnest until the role is filled — help me out here :)

P.S.: We’re an all-Mac shop — servers too — so Mac/*nix geeks are especially encouraged.

Music: Devendra Banhart :: Owl Eyes

2 Replies to “Knight Digital Media Center, New J-School Webmaster”

  1. Wow, Scot. Exciting stuff! After taking a quite look at the tutorials on the Knight Digital Media site, I plan on stealing a great deal of it for my staff ;c)

    I have found “old” media’s challenges very similar to “old” non-profits.

  2. That is indeed very exciting! By the way, did you know that the Knight Foundation is also holding a contest with up to $5 million earmarked for the winners. The goal of the contest is to provide funding for people with big, innovative ideas that combine the use of digital technology, breaking news/information delivery, and that are limited to a specific geographic region (thus promoting local or hyper-local journalism).

    You can find out more at http://newschallenge.org.

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