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.