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New from The Knight Foundation: A Free J-School Self-Help Book

SearchlightSunglassesEverything is in place to spread the word about today’s launch of the HTML5 digital book Searchlights and Sunglasses: Field Notes from the Digital Age of Journalism. There’s a namesake website; a Twitter hashtag (#edshift); an Atlanta appearance; and loads of advance praise from members of the target audience:

Adam Maksl, Ph.D., assistant professor of journalism, Indiana University Southeast: “A comprehensive perspective of the current state of American journalism and what needs to be done for the industry to respond for the future.”

John Lumpkin, director, Schieffer School of Journalism and former Associated Press vice president: “The uphill battle for journalism in the digital age is well-known. What has been missing is a solution. The voice of clarity about that is embodied in Searchlights and Sunglasses.”

Tom Rosenstiel, executive director of the American Press Institute and founder of the Project for Excellence in Journalism: “A unique and important book. Eric Newton has been one of the most influential people in shaping journalism’s future for more than a decade. This volume tracks his journey, outlines what he has learned and where he thinks we are headed—on everything from document clouds to the future of journalism education.”

According to today’s Knight release, employers in a survey said only 26% of current journalism-school grads came with the necessary digital workplace skills. So other 74%, this book’s for you too.

Searchlights and Sunglasses includes no less than 1,000 lesson plans and resources for classroom use, developed at the University of Missouri’s Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. In connection with the book, there is also a $1 million challenge fund to help journalism schools experiment with the live news experiments, aided by working media professionals. The fund will be administered by the Online News Association and applications will be available in November.

The title of the book is a nod to the metaphor “of how journalism evolved as a searchlight for truth but today is equally tasked with shading the glare of the digital age so important facts do not get lost.” Author Newton is officially launching his book today at the annual ONA conference in Atlanta.

[Illustration by Chris Rosenthal]

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