Posted by: lcowie | January 6, 2009

Interactive Media

What makes media interactive?

A look at the software that manipulates and digitizes information

by Lesley Cowie

Today’s journalists are trying to understand the transformations that their field has experienced in the last few years, as well as predict the future of journalism. Phrases like “interactive media,” “multimedia,” “new media” and “digital media” are often found to be interchangeable. These four fields share two themes: communication and digitalization.


Photo courtesy of

In order to communicate information in today’s technologically-driven society, journalists must use computers to manipulate information. This includes scanning photos and editing videos.

Below is a compilation of my experiences with digital media:

It all began with the scanner. Before I had access to a digital camera, I took pictures on a traditional camera and scanned the images onto my computer. Then I emailed the pictures to friends.

As I became more accustomed to scanning photos, I noticed that I could edit particular features on a photo. I have used a variety of photo-editing software, but the two main ones that I currently use are Photoshop (on a Mac) and VCW VicMan’s Photo Editor (on my laptop). I will sometimes use Paint in extreme cases.

I learned how to take better pictures and how to edit properly during my winter term class at Elon University. Digital Media Convergence, as it was called, is a beginner course for communications students to learn the basics of digital media.

In this class, I also learned how to build a web site and produce a video. I used Photoshop to create the basic buttons and elements for my web site. I used Dreamweaver to actually create the web site. We used Final Cut Pro to edit our videos.

Because I do not own a Macintosh computer, I use Windows Movie Maker to edit videos and slideshows. I have been in groups where we have used SoundSlides to create a slideshow.

As a student actively involved on the yearbook staff, I have used both Adobe Pagemaker and InDesign to create layouts. Users on these programs may manipulate photos, text, shapes and colors.

I have not spent a great deal of time editing audio, though the few times that I have edited audio have been successful. It was during these times that I used Power Sound Editor Free and Microsoft’s Sound Recorder.

A variety of software exist to aid a journalist in manipulating information. Some journalists purchase top-of-the-line software to get the job done. Sometimes a journalist must be creative with the software that he or she has available.


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