This fall, the new Media Innovation concentration launches within the Masters of Journalism graduate program. Supported by a $250,000 Knight Foundation grant and led by Assistant Professor Jeff Howe, the program emphasizes interdisciplinary collaboration across the university. We recently connected with Dina Kraft, the new Associate Program Coordinator for the Media Innovation concentration, who herself is an accomplished journalist.
How did you decide to become a journalist?
I grew up with newsprint on my fingers. My father began his career as a journalist and some of my earliest memories are of going to the local newsstand on Sunday mornings to buy a big stack of papers: The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and The Washington Star (may it rest in peace). At home the living room floor would soon be carpeted with newspapers as my parents passed sections back and forth; talking, sometimes arguing, about what was going on in the world.
So I had an early introduction and then did my time at my high school and college newspaper and was hooked. I loved access to people’s lives and stories and the chance to share them. Later I was lucky to get my first job as a correspondent for The Associated Press in Jerusalem which was the ultimate training ground for a young journalist. There’s rarely a slow news day in that part of the world. From Jerusalem I moved to Johannesburg where I was posted for the AP to help cover covered southern Africa. My beat then switched from war and peace to the AIDS pandemic. I later returned to Israel where I became a freelancer writing for various American and British newspapers including The New York Times and The Daily Telegraph. I returned to the United States for a Nieman Fellowship in 2011.
Can you tell us a little about the new Media Innovation concentration?
The Media Innovation concentration seeks to answer a very real need out there: a hands-on digital education journalists can use in their work every day. I know just how crucial that is because I am one of those print journalists who came of age when a notebook and pen – and computer – were all you needed. In the new track students will choose a focus such as data, game design, or web development and study them in depth with Northeastern faculty who are leaders in those fields. They will apply those new tools to a project they have chosen to report and produce during their studies, a significant piece of journalism to be published with a media partner like The Boston Globe or NPR. In terms of applicants, we’re looking for mid-career journalists and recent journalism undergraduates who are hungry to learn and apply these skills to 21st century storytelling.
What’s the most interesting digital presentation of a story you’ve seen recently?
The New York Times and The Guardian have been out front in telling stories in new ways and pushing the digital envelope. I recently saw a rather quirky and humorous animation about curse of the Maracanã, which is all the more poignant after Brazil’s World Cup loss.