The University of Texas at Austin
  • Behind the Scenes of History

    Laura Byerley, College of Communication
    Published: Jan. 22, 2013

    Journalism students, lecturer contribute to PBS NewsHour’s coverage of the inauguration

    David Barer, second-year journalism graduate student

    Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism in the College of Communication were in the thick of the action in Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour.

    Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas participated in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The course, which produced InaugBlog, aims to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.

    Barer (@David_Barer) and Salinas (@ElLoneStarGamer) were among 15 student-journalists selected from a nationwide search. The opportunity to help lead the course came to senior lecturer Kate Dawson after Cheers visited one of Dawson’s classes last year.

    Efren Salinas, second-year journalism graduate student

    Instructors and student-reporters arrived at the PBS NewsHour headquarters on Jan. 18.

    “Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said before they left for Washington last week. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”

    Barer served on a print team, writing stories about how sign language interpreters and cell phone providers were preparing for the Inauguration.

    Salinas served on a film team led by Dawson. He worked on a photo essay of Inauguration celebrity sightings and a video about how state marijuana laws are in conflict with federal law.

    “I worked from 4:30 a.m. until midnight Jan. 21 and about 14 hours the other days,” Dawson said the day after the inauguration. “It was a grind but really wonderful. Our 15 students produced more than 40 projects in three days. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we used technology that I had never seen before. We’re all now ready to sleep!”

    “It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”

    journalism lecturer Diana Dawson works with student reporters at PBS NewsHour

    Journalism senior lecturer Kate Dawson, right, works with student reporters on the InaugBlog project for PBS NewsHour.

    To view the multimedia short course blog, visit On Twitter, student-reporters posted under #newshouru and #inaugblog.

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