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Mission

The Backpack Journalism model provides a strong sense of the realities of the world of the early 21st century that may exist beyond the boundaries of individual life experiences of the potential audience. To practice this model effectively will require mastery of new technologies, a fusion of roles previously separated in the broadcast environment, and a new kind of workflow that still affords the historic checks and balances that have been used to ensure such journalistic verities as accuracy, fairness, balance and carefully vetted information.

Recognizing the likelihood that this model will make important contributions to the changing forms of journalism and visual storytelling, American University’s School of Communication has chosen to launch the Backpack Journalism Project and to lead the field by developing new curriculum and training methods.

We aim to promote the sense of deep authorship to its practitioners, and to identify trends and best practices of this model. We aim to impact decisions of managers and editors regarding implementation of the model. We aim to reach a broad audience interested in powerful visual stories about key issues of our time, and to reach the creators and distributors of new visual communication platforms that are hungry for powerful content.

Watch video of Bill Gentile discussing more about Backpack Journalism

BPJ Featured in NPPA

SOC BPJ NPPA spread

Check out an article about how AU is building its Backpack Journalism Project in an edition of the National Press Photographers' Association (NPPA) magazine.

Download the article