|Axel Rouvin, via Flickr (CC license)|
|Dreamweaver class for journalists? Might as well be…|
A colleague is teaching an interactive storytelling course at a big-name and very, very expensive journalism school. I asked him which tool they’ll use to build the class project, a webzine (really a package of online feature stories, it sounds like, not a periodical). His answer: Dreamweaver.
This stuns me. Why, why, why use Dreamweaver for a journalism project?
I’m serious. Look over the feature list on the Dreamweaver site. Dreamweaver is a great Web design and development tool. It’s fine if you want to create a slick corporate site, or a site to support an ad or advocacy campaign, or a free-standing, fairly static micro-site.
But Dreamweaver is NOT a content management system. From what I understand it doesn’t even play nicely with content management systems. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s almost totally irrelevant to the practice of journalism. Here’s why…
The vast majority of content that news orgs and independent news venues publish online are not the kind of thing you’d ever touch Dreamweaver for. Yes, news orgs do sometimes run slick multimedia online features packaged more or less as micro-sites — but that’s rare. And, I’d say, those projects are primarily bids for journalism awards. (Read: attempts to impress colleagues and competition.)
Content management systems have become the core tech tool of the journo trade. These days, journalists absolutely need to know how to use a CMS — not just to file stories, but how to set them up for projects, integrate stylesheets and themes with them, choose the right CMS tool for the job, integrate content from a variety of sources (including feeds, databases, and XML), and creatively distribute and promote their stories.
In short, a working knowledge of CMS technology and how it integrates with the internet is what gives a journalist’s career legs these days.
But teaching journalists Dreamweaver? You might as well teach them calligraphy. It makes your content looks really pretty — and it generally won’t be worth a damn on a real journo job or project.
…Oh, and it’s not just me who’s appalled by this ridiculous tool choice. When I mentioned this on Twitter earlier today, Here are the responses I received: