Gheni Platenburg


Switching her multimedia journalism class online overnight was a bit more difficult than Dr. Platenburg imagined. Before switching online, Dr. Platenburg partnered with another communications faculty member on a national solutions journalism project which required students to interview members of the northwest Auburn community on issues they faced including infrastructure, housing, and culture.

“In journalism, face-to-face interviews are most ideal,” Dr. Platenburg noted. “Transitioning to an online model has been difficult because not only does it take away the ability to do work face-to-face but also my students have some anxiety about whether or not this project still has relevance with everything else going on in the world right now.”

Instead of dropping the project all together, Dr. Platenburg has spent time researching and finding new technologies for her students to carry out their interviews online such as Google Voice, Tape a Call, Rev, and more. She’s also started incorporating online simulations and trainings from the likes of BBC, PBS, and Poynter to teach her students how to make choices on what sources to interview, ethical journalism, and decisions on deadlines.

Although untraditional, this experience has given Dr. Platenburg the opportunity to talk to her students about best practices for collecting and shooting video, making sure lighting is correct, and sound and audio stays protected. “We’re helping students be able to function in this type of environment which will make them a bit more marketable. They are learning to adapt better in high stakes situations and are having to change the way they go about news gathering.”

“I think this experience has shown my students that journalism and life goes on, even during a pandemic. Being able to produce something that can possibly get people’s mind off everything that is happening is a good lesson.”

Last modified: April 28, 2020