J-schools: tech skills vs. future fitting

Serena Carpenter of Arizona State University has outlined several classes that would “that connect technology to bigger issues.”

They include:

* Digital Sandbox
* Online Organizational Behavior and Change
* Citizen Journalism
* Defining and Envisioning Journalism

Published in: on March 31, 2009 at 1:42 am  Leave a Comment  

How-to’s

*Steven Clift of E-Democracy is compiling some handouts, mainly on social media.

*Ryan Thornburg of UNC-Chapel Hill has a few one-page guides to online journalism (in the section titled “Writing Projects”).

* Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits has my piece on “How to start a web site in six easy Steps.

* More resources are listed at the bottom of my post on “How should journalism schools adapt?”

Published in: on March 30, 2009 at 8:07 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Build it or be quiet

Matt Waite wrote, “Build something or STFU.”

Waite, the news technologist for the St. Petersburg Times and Tampabay.com, said, “Before I get myself into trouble, I just want to say this: If all these people who know so much about journalism on the web spent less time on waving their arms in hysterics and actually built something — created value, or tried a new model instead of opined on one — the world would be a very different place.”

Mine are:
* Stem Neighbors
* Raleigh Shelter

They still need a lot of work. But everything starts with something.

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More takes on journalism schools for the future

In case you missed Poynter’s chat on Monday, “What Do College Journalism Students Need to Learn?”:

* “Advice for journalism job hunters,” at Advancing the Story

* “Shaping the future journalist,” by Marion Geiger at Editors Weblog.

Published in: on March 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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Thinking on our feet

A common theme of Poynter’s chat Wednesday was about students being able to think on their feet.

But during the chat on  What Do College Journalism Students Need to Learn?” we didn’t get far on how to help them do that.

I’ve read that a factor in creativity is having knowledge that is both broad and deep. Guest speakers and team teaching are helping to build bridges among journalism, technology and business.

One caution I would make is against changing one mold, writing, for another. But reaching across disciplines could also work with other departments.

And multidisciplinary courses or programs might  be increased — such as by issues-oriented offerings with sociology, political science, public health and public administration.

Published in: on March 25, 2009 at 6:19 am  Comments (1)  
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Integrating digital media throughout J-school

Digital media is becoming a core skill for journalists.

But it is not yet a core skill for their faculty members.

This issue came up in Poynter’s chat on Monday, “What Do College Journalism Students Need to Learn?”

Robert French of Auburn University asked:
“Where would you rank the importance of learning technical aspects like video/audio production, CMS / social network usage (how to use open source platforms to create online communities)? Should programs have this interweaved throughout the curriculum, or only one course? Finally, should faculty be actively involved in emerging digital media networks? blogging? podcasting?”

My answer was:
“Robert, I think all students need to be able to do basic work in at least two media. And it’s unfeasible for most schools to integrate digital media throughout the curriculum. So I’d suggest all students having at least one course. I think all faculty members need some experience with digital media. But for both students and faculty members, there’s still room for different specialties.”

I think everyone else who addressed this disagreed with me about the feasibility of most schools integrating digital media throughout the curriculum.

Possibly we’re just understanding the question differently. I meant how feasible this is to do soon. And by “throughout the curriculum,” I meant “in every course.”

I doubt all professors are ready to do this. Take any representative sample, and see how much of a digital presence they have.

One answer could be to get rid of any faculty members who can’t or won’t integrate digital media.

But they have expertise in other areas. It would be a shame to throw that out.

If that were done, the breadth and total sum of knowledge among the faculty would be sharply diminished.

I think it would be better to start with a more-basic move – such as getting syllabi online and easy to find.

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 3:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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Business link

Revenue Two Point Zero
(found via Poynter)
From the site:

In the manifesto we posted last week, we identified four strategies for funding journalism. These links point to demonstrations of new revenue models we developed for news companies:

Published in: on March 24, 2009 at 1:55 am  Comments (1)  
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New specialties for journalism schools

Journalism schools, like much else in the field, are being asked to do more and more.

The natural inclination is to treat digital media roughly like broadcasting: add some specific courses and maybe courses that integrate digital media with previous offerings, such as public affairs reporting online, and eventually a separate track.

But as more is added, something will need to be cut. I would fit in additions by reducing offerings in specific delivery methods. So students would be less specialized in any given medium.

For the present to midterm future, journalists will be expected to be work in multiple media, which is not synonymous with digital media. But some specialization will usually still be needed.

So I would divide the basic two tracks between “outside” and “inside” journalists.

The “outside” program would be reporting, in the broad sense of the term (such as by including photojournalism).

The “inside” program would cover editing and production.

Because the niche market is growing, another option is to offer more specialties in specific coverage subjects, such as sports and business. One flaw with this method is that undergraduates might be less likely to know which subject they want to specialize in.

An advantage would be that the journalism school wouldn’t need to do it alone. It could use complementary work by another school in the college. The same principle would apply for a track on the news business.

The civic media program I outlined at Poynter would encompass much of the above.

Looking further ahead, in the category of “tracks not yet invented” (as far as I know) would be “discourse media.”

I struggle with what to call this. “Social media” denotes only part of the idea. It is less evocative of the underlying value and principles.

The main idea is journalism as conversation — a mesh between participatory media and civic media. But it needs a relatively short name.

“Convening media” occurred to me after reading a post by Ryan Thornburg, where he asks: “If everyone’s a publisher, who will convene’ the public?”

To some degree, the public will convene itself. But journalists can and should help it. Thornburg’s view is one of the best I’ve seen for the role of journalism in the digital age.

He also notes that this is not a new idea. It follows the civic journalism or public journalism movement of the 1990s.

The idea was controversial then. One problem was the ambiguity.

I’ll use Philip Meyer’s definition and boil it down to this (the first paragraph after the bullet points):
“Each of these six goals is consistent with the traditional notion of the journalist as a free society’s watchdog. Their purpose is to focus the watchdog’s effort in a time of information overload. … Focusing the light of public attention on any one problem long enough to spark discourse leading to a solution is the object of public journalism. Therefore, a generic term for the various strains of public journalism might be ‘focus journalism’ or ‘discourse journalism.'”

Using “discourse media” instead of “discourse journalism” recognizes that this work is already being done outside of journalism.

Do you have other ideas for what to call this?

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Missing from journalism schools

One component that seems to be weak or nonexistent at many journalism schools and education in general is media literacy. Given that many people are immersed in media, it makes sense to help people learn how to think about it more critically.

These efforts seem to be growing. This month, Stony Brook University announced a national proposal to teach news literacy to college students not majoring in journalism.

But news is only one part of mass media, and seldom the part people spend most of their time with.

Dan Gillmor wrote about this better than I would. He outlined not only why a broader goal should be pursued but also how a comprehensive program might be carried out.

Gillmor’s bullet points for everyone to learn are:

• Be Skeptical
• Exercise Judgement
• Open Your Mind
• Keep Asking Questions
• Learn Media Techniques

These five points are mostly framed from the audience perspective. From both the participant and producer view, I would explicity add knowledge about digital trails (but I’m not sure of the best verb to go with that).

Links about the business side of news

* INMA — International News Marketing Association

* AIMGroup — Advanced Interactive Media Group, which says, “We are experts in developing successful revenue strategies around automotive, real estate, recruitment and merchandise advertising.”

http://aimgroup.com/

More can be found in the business section of my post about how journalism schools might best adapt to changes.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 1:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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