UCI Communications Offer New Media Resource

In response to the Internet-dependent status of the media today, when people are more likely to get their news by Google rather than the newsstand, UC Irvine’s University Communications office has established a variety of multimedia features on the Web that will help journalists find out more information about UCI. The added features include ‘Experts on Video’ and ‘Video News.’
University Communications, under the direction of Assistant Vice Chancellor of Communications Susan Menning, assists in informing the public of the campus’s major accomplishments and events. It handles the publication of quarterly ‘Newsmakers and Headlines,’ the Web site Today@UCI, and other media resources. The idea to beef up media resources had been discussed by the department for some time and, over the summer, it decided to launch the new multimedia resources for the upcoming school year.
‘Experts on Video’ is a video library of faculty and experts discussing topics such as health and medicine or immigration and infrastructure. In the video, experts talk about a particular field of study or research for 30 to 60 seconds.
‘We plan to grow and expand this feature. Right now there’s only about 20 experts on video. Anyone on campus and people in the media can learn more by hearing about a faculty’s area of expertise in his own words. It can become accessible to dozens of people,’ said Farnaz Khadem, assistant director of communications.
Along with the experts on video, the department has also created ‘Video News,’ which is filmed news in multimedia content distributed with a press release. In the process of creating these videos, researchers are interviewed on camera about a particular academic finding. The video is then linked to a news clip, enabling journalists to have breaking news along with video and multimedia.
An example of video news is a two-and-a-half minute piece of professor Frank LaFerla speaking about his Alzheimer’s research, which found that stress leads to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
The department decided to implement such resources upon hearing from journalists that readers and viewers were more interested in news in multimedia form, such as video segments and audio clips.
‘In the world, many people get breaking news from multimedia sources, be it radio or iPod,’ said Khadeem. ‘We thought that this was the best way to give readers and listeners what they wanted. It also makes the public more responsive and the campus more visible.’
With these resources at hand, some students believe that the new features will have a positive influence.
‘This will help other journalists, especially those who are literary journalism majors, because for our stories, we still have to do a lot of background research and dig up information,’ said Danielli Marfori, a fourth-year literary journalism and social ecology major. ‘The only UCI resources that had been previously available for our use were archived newspaper articles from major newspapers, online journals and others.’
In comparison, other students feel that the new multimedia tools are too central to campus.
‘It’s a good resource, but it’s geared mostly to UCI students. I don’t see how it’ll be useful to students on other campuses. It’s a novel idea, but more could be done with it,’ said Angeline Kuh, a first-year literary journalism student.
Besides these features of experts, the site hosts a range of others that have existed for over a year, including an on-campus broadcast studio for live or taped interviews with faculty members. Likewise, the department maintains an ISDN line so that journalists may conduct radio interviews with faculty and experts.
To find out more about the new multimedia resources, visit the Today@UCI web site at http://www.today.uci.edu/news.