Tech changes keep journalists always learning


Photo Courtesy of the Department of Journalism

Dave “Doc” Lippert, who started the journalism dept., teaches a student how to use a camera.

Lauren Freund, Opinion Editor

From typewriters to Mac computers, the UW Oshkosh Department of Journalism has experienced significant changes in technology over the past 50 years.

Alumna Mary Bergin, ’73, experienced the Department when it only had typewriters.

“The only lab that I recall was the darkroom, for making black-and-white photos from camera film,” Bergin said. “We used electric typewriters to compose articles for homework or our Advance-Titan newspaper assignments.”

As the department looks forward and technology continues to update, Bergin said that it’ll be important for the department to stay on top of changes.

“It’s certainly going to keep changing, getting more and more efficient,” Bergin said. “It will be very important for faculty to stay on the cutting edge of changes and improvements.”

Alumnus John Giesfeldt, ’86, experienced the journalism labs when they had Tandy Radio Shack-80 computers.

“Basically, they were true word processors,” Giesfeldt said. “No graphics capabilities, but they were better than typewriters.”

Giesfeldt said that with technology providing more channels for journalism, the department must keep updated and provide the best for students.

“The challenge for the department is to keep the curriculum relevant,” Giesfeldt said. “The communications landscape has changed – digital in all forms, print, broadcast etc. Each has its limits and capabilities.”

Alumna Patty Brandl graduated from UW Oshkosh with a journalism degree in 2003, and by then, the department had iMacs in the labs.

“I was grateful for the school because it did let me learn how to use all of the Mac computers, the iPads, everything,” Brandl said. “I think it’s so much easier, and for graphics it’s a lot nicer.”

Brandl said that without the internet, the Advance-Titan was the main source for knowing what was going on around campus.

“The only technology we had to let us know what was going on around us was the A-T,” Brandl said. “And people would just wait for that thing to come out.”

Alumnus Tony Palina, ’01, said that technology brings a new challenge to students.

“I think, unfortunately, as technology has evolved and you have the old folks versus the new folks it’s going to be assumed that people of this generation should know all that,” Palina said.

As technology continues to update, Palina said that the department just needs to focus on embracing it.

“You almost have to guess what the next thing is going to be,” Palina said. “I think as long as the department is being led or is going in the direction of embracing the technology, or at least not pushing it away, they’ll be fine.”

Dr. Gary Coll, a faculty member from 1969 to 2005, was there for many of the technological changes.

“They came along, they went quick, and everybody kept with it,” Coll said. “But if you look where you jump from, from here to here, you just see it’s unbelievable.”

On the future of the department and technology, Coll said that we will continue to use and keep up with it but not be dependent on it.

“We always want to stay up with it,” Coll said. “But I don’t think we’re looking at it to replace us.”