Journalism student covers inauguration for PBS NewsHour blog

Published: Feb. 7, 2013

The presidential inauguration draws heavy media coverage every four years – with pictures of the swearing in, the parade and the traditional black tie balls.

But when CU Journalism major Rob Denton covered this year’s inauguration for a PBS NewsHour blog, he gave his audience a look at much different events using some entirely new digital technology.

Denton, a photojournalist, was one of 14 students nationwide chosen by PBS to cover inauguration weekend for a NewsHour project called InaugBlog. Together, the students provided online coverage of the weekend’s events, including news stories, social media feeds, pictures, traditional and interactive video.

"We wanted to introduce students to public media and show them the importance of producing balanced and fair reporting,” said Imani Cheers, director of educational resources for the PBS NewsHour and managing editor of the InaugBlog.

“I hope students gained valuable experiences reporting on an international stage (and) collaborating with their peers."
Denton, a junior from Littleton, said he had a great weekend. “I felt really lucky to take part in this experiment pushing the boundaries of contemporary journalism,” he said. “It brought together students from all across the country who have different backgrounds and different expertise to work together and create an amazing project.”

Instead of the traditional evening-gown-and-tuxedo ball, Denton photographed the “Yoga Ball,” hosted by a Washington D.C. yoga community that had previously organized a campaign to encourage local yogis to vote.

At many of the events he covered, Denton used new digital technology that is available to CU Journalism & Mass Communication students who are being trained in the latest digital newsgathering equipment and techniques.

One innovative tool, the GoPano, is a device that attaches to an iPhone to produce 360-degree video of an event. The video is interactive – a viewer can manipulate it to pan and zoom so it provides a panorama of the scene.  Denton made several GoPano videos, including one of a protest against U.S. use of drones overseas. The protesters displayed a model drone near a barricade of U.S. military Humvees.

When the weekend’s events were over Denton created an interactive map pinpointing the locations of major events and the stories the students wrote to chronicle them. 

With a digital media revolution underway, Denton said “it’s important to not just do the traditional formats but to branch out and try new ways of storytelling.”