Topics in Visual Journalism

Using GIFs, Memes & Animation for News

Course Details

Captain American animated gif created by Aaron Berkowitz
Student Work by Aaron Berkowitz

GIFs and other simple animations are the fundamental language of the Internet. From simple memes to Instagram stories, short form content reaches more people online than any other format. Increasingly, short form content is being used for to create easy-to-consume mobile content, animate data on platforms like Twitter and produce short trailers or push people to richer content on Facebook. This five-week module is a hands-on introduction to the world of animations and the ever-expanding use cases for journalism. Students will learn how to build animations ranging from simple looping GIFs to more complex animations for social media use. We will use Adobe Photoshop as the primary tool, though other tools will be introduced. Students are encouraged to use assignments in other courses as the basis for work in this class — or the other way around. Students may also use the course to develop graphic material for their capstones or other projects.