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Madison College Writer's Life Lecture Series Presents "Backpack Journalism"

Apr 24, 0014 7 - 8 pm

Madison College Downtown Campus, 211 N. Carroll St., Madison, WI

“Backpack journalism” is focus of April 24 event

Contact: Larry D. Hansen, (608) 258-2389,

“Backpack Journalism: Reporters Crossing Platforms”
• Madison College Writer’s Life Lecture Series
• 7 p.m., Thursday, April 24, 2014
• Room 234, Madison College Downtown Campus, 211 N. Carroll Street

Madison, Wis.: An Al Jazeera America producer, a Wisconsin State Journal staff writer, and a Wisconsin Public Radio reporter will discuss media convergence and “backpack journalism” at the Writer’s Life Lecture Series event held April 24 at the Madison College Downtown Campus.

David Douglas, a former Channel 3 news reporter and now with Al Jazeera America; Barry Adams, reporter and columnist for the Wisconsin State Journal; and Shawn Johnson, WPR’s government reporter; are panelists for the 7 p.m. event titled “Backpack Journalism: Reporters Crossing Platforms.”

“Reporters today need a diverse skill set,” said Larry D. Hansen, Madison College journalism instructor and event moderator. “Feature writers, for instance, are often asked to do more than write stories. They may also shoot a bit of video and maybe Tweet when the story/video is about to be published. Radio journalists are no longer just voices on the air. They might write copy for a website or, in the case of WPR’s Shawn Johnson, shoot a few photos.

“This is multimedia journalism. Some call it backpack journalism: The reporter goes in the field with a laptop, video camera, and digital recorder in a backpack. Using the tools in that backpack, the reporter writes a news story, shoots and edits video, and maybe even records and edits a radio podcast.”

Douglas left Madison’s WISC-TV to become a freelance journalist. He produced an Emmy-winning election program, Swing State Wisconsin, and shared stories from the Midwest with the world for Agence France-Presse. Douglas is now based in Chicago where he is a news producer for Al Jazeera America.

Adams, who has spent more than 30 years in media, taught radio production and broadcasting at Madison Media Institute before joining Capital Newspapers in 1998. He has covered a variety of beats for the Wisconsin State Journal and also is the Sunday columnist for the paper’s “On Wisconsin” column.

Johnson, a WPR government reporter since 2004, is a regular guest on WPR’s Idea Network and, on occasion, contributes to Wisconsin Public Television, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” Johnson previously worked for WUIS-FM in Springfield, IL, and WBBM-AM in Chicago.

The panel discussion, held in Room 234 of the college’s Downtown Campus, will be followed by a question-and-answer period. The public is invited free of charge.

The college’s Creative Writing Program and Journalism Program sponsors the Writer’s Life Lecture Series event.


Contact: Larry D. Hansen, (608) 258-2389,

The Movement and Its Legacy: A Panel Discussion with Civil Rights Veterans

Apr 17, 0014 7:00 - 8:30 pm

Wisconsin Historical Society, 816 State St., Madison WI 53706
Six staff who worked for CORE, SNCC and other civil rights organizations in the 1960s will discuss their experiences on the movement's front lines. Their work spanned the entire 1960s, from early Freedom Rides to Black Power. They participated in desegregation struggles in Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee, and gathered much of the Wisconsin Historical Society's nationally known research collection on civil rights. The traveling exhibit, "Risking Everything: A Freedom Summer Exhibit for Students," will be on display at the museum that evening as well.

Michael Edmonds