ISSN 1016-1007 GPN2005600032
頁數:1-44﹣1-44 從大學實習媒體的學習經驗探究媒體匯流時代的數位敘事製作 Digital Narrative Production in the Era of Media Convergence: Taking Campus Media as an Example
Huei-Chun Chi
campus media, digital narrative, interdisciplinary response, narrative

Digital narratives have become such a prevalent form of news reporting that they play an indispensable role in the teaching curriculum of mass communications. Composed of the elements of journalism, computer science, information theory, and visual design, not only do they challenge the existing boundaries of mass communications through an interdisciplinary nature, but they also expose students to the complexities in utilizing computer programs, datasets, design tools, and digital devices, bringing innovations to the academic community.

Curriculum reforms have been put in place by many universities to equip students with theoretical knowledge and the professional skills of handling digital narratives, by introducing the use of online multi-media tools, the production of diverse contents, and the use of analytical tools and web builders, while not forsaking the basics of traditional journalism.

Taking the campus media in the mass communication department of a local university with a history of 36 years as an example, vocational training for video news production has been provided from day one. Moreover, the use of web builders such as WordPress and, which incorporate workflows such as news gathering, editing, censoring, and broadcasting, has been introduced since 2017 to cope with the rise of the digital era.

This study seeks to understand students’ apprehension of the difference between digital narrative production and traditional news production, to observe the change in the demand of talents and in the dynamics within work teams, and to explore possible changes in future curriculum. As such, focus group interviews were conducted with fourteen students who had taken part in the production of three in-depth stories in 2020, applying the digital narrative for campus media as mentioned above, while in-depth interviews were also carried out with three teachers and one intern.

The study revealed that students found it confusing to perceive the distinction between digital media and mass media, because they used to interpret news reporting in a rigid way and thus failed to explore the nature of the digital narrative. It therefore implies that the traditional linear narrative is no longer applicable pertaining to digital convergence and means students are not only required to master digital tools, but also have to grasp the idea that media convergence should not be simplified as merely a technique about using digital tools, and that the structure of the digital narrative is different from that of the traditional narrative.

Interviews in this study indicated that students recognized they have to diversify their ability of story-telling by acquiring practical skills of digital production, including recording, coordination, editing, and disseminating, rather than limiting themselves to a certain area of expertise as they were taught under the long-established approach of journalism education. On the grounds that prospective journalists are expected to play multiple roles in the digital era, by differing from the conventional newsroom-centricity model that emphasizes a division of labor and adopts a top-down approach of management with a highly synchronized industrial production style, it is suggested that radio services, television broadcasts, and newspapers operating independently should now be integrated into a digitalized platform where journalists from print media and broadcast media can collaborate with digital journalists on various news themes. At the same time, teachers and students can also experiment under various ways of story-telling through different types of media with a hands-on approach that allows students to apply what they have learned in class, aiming at cultivating prospective all-round journalists via the process of ‘learning by doing’.

Catering to the demands of the audience is essential for conceiving digital narratives, by providing information and also managing expectations from the audience. The duty of journalists has shifted from pure reporting to illustrating information. The significance of visual spatial designs and multiple reading strategies therefore outweighs that of the linear narrative with regard to the digital narrative. This echoes previous research showing that spatial arrangement, instead of time sequence, has become the key for organizing stories when it comes to the digital narrative and demonstrating visual spatial layers in news presentations. Such a change itself represents the fact that digital narrative production has been liberated from the traditional conceptual system that is centric, peripheral, hierarchical, and linear, evolving into a hypertext format that is multi-linear and contains a network of nodes and links.

Previous studies have reflected that the objective of interdisciplinary studies is to establish connections between various disciplines in order to extend the boundaries of knowledge. The interdisciplinary feature of the digital narrative, as this study highlights, is the reason for the obstacles faced by many students attempting to utilize computer programs, datasets, design tools, and digital devices. Hence, solutions to know-how should be the focal point of interdisciplinary studies in the future as it is no longer restricted by the historic classification of disciplines constructed by power.

A series of curriculum reforms thus deserves to be considered under the influence of media convergence. In this age of paradigm shifts, the modules and teaching methods of journalism education should be thoroughly reexamined with concerted efforts made by all educators so as to systematically and precisely capture the thoughts of the entire education community. To cultivate students’ ability in employing the digital narrative, it is suggested to crucially develop their capability at mastering digital tools, as well as to uncover how the digital era has influenced the way news stories are organized, with an emphasis on the importance of demonstrating the combination of visual and spatial presentations. On that account, enhancing the ability to produce digital narratives not only implies an instrument-wise transformation, but also establishes concepts differing from the traditional linear narrative and hence calls for an utter change in the teaching model and a more innovative way of thinking.
2022/ 冬