jQuery + ONA = inspiration.

jQuery was a relief for me. Last week, I struggled with JavaScript. I was, as the kids say, shook. It felt like high school math class all over again. I should’ve known that those tricky little web developers, the same guys who follow the DRY principle, wouldn’t leave it at that. Once I got out of my head and got a hang of it, I realized it wasn’t that bad, but it can still be shortened.

Enter jQuery. A fast, small and feature-rich library designed to make JavaScript easier. Also, the beginning of creating code I can see utilized in the websites I actually visit. I felt like I was doing something big once I saw all the interactive features, like sliding elements and toggles.

At the time that I finished the jQuery lessons, I had just come back from the Online News Association (ONA) Conference on the HBCU Digital Media Fellowship. At their annual Online Journalism Awards, I saw a world of new possibilities. The student category particularly surprised me. Seeing the websites for Aftermath by UNC School of Media and Journalism and Alone by Misyrlena Egkolfopoulou of UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism made me realize that there is more out there than just words-on-paper journalism. These pieces create experiences that put the audience in the shoes of the afflicted. This, along with the design thinking workshops and training in alternative storytelling methods by Michael Grant, made me realize the untapped potential in Howard’s journalism department, the audience’s role in the story and the possibility that we may be behind the curve.

How do we bring a comparable curriculum to our HBCU? I think this class is a step in the right direction. I think Howard needs a modern journalism curriculum that strays from the traditional.

But back to jQuery. It was easy to grasp and it was intuitive. I believe that’s also what contributes to a good story. The audience can understand and interact with it. I will say I’m inspired. I want to take my new insight back to our school’s new ONA chapter.

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