TexasMusicViz wins first round of Journalism Education challenge

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 11, 2014

A multi-disciplinary team led by Cindy Royal, an associate professor of digital media at Texas State University, is among 12 universities across the U.S. winning the first round of the $1M Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education.

The goal of the competition is to develop innovative approaches to journalism using customized versions of the teaching hospital model. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities.

The Texas State entry is "TexasMusicViz," which combines data visualization and application development to tell important stories as they relate to music. Music journalism typically consists of music or show reviews and band profiles, either in print or multimedia. But music can be a very important part of a community, with strong historical ties and affecting the economy, social interaction and culture.

Using alternative methods to tell stories can uncover unheard voices and untold tales. By using data and application development, new and important ways to tell stories will be uncovered relating to music in the community. The project will further shed light on how to engage the community and will demonstrate how these topics should be integrated into curriculum.

Faculty in the departments of mass communication and computer science at Texas State will develop the curriculum for each course that will be creating the data visualizations and news applications. Consulting on curriculum development will be provided by other media partners, including National Public Radio (NPR), KUT-Austin and MakerSquare. The professional contacts at Texas Music Magazine, Texas Music Office, KUT-Austin and NPR will provide professional insight and access to data and resources.

In addition to Royal, the TexasMusicViz team includes Apan Qasem, associate professor of computer science at Texas State, Stewart Ramser, founder and publisher of Texas Music Magazine, Haley Howle of KUT–Austin, Casey Monahan, director of the Texas Music Office of the Governor, Tim Lott, vice president of Disruptive Innovation, Cox Media Group, Brian Boyer, editor with the NPR visuals team, Kiana Fitzgerald, production assistant with NPR Music, and Harsh Patel, founder of MakerSquare.

For more information, contact Cindy Royal at cr38@txstate.edu.