Rethinking Journalism Education

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Presentation given at the Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff, Wales on Sept. 9/10, 2009

Presentation given at the Future of Journalism conference in Cardiff, Wales on Sept. 9/10, 2009

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  • 1. Rethinking Journalism Education [again]
    • The Future of Journalism
    • Cardiff University, Wales
    • September 2009
    • Donica Mensing University of Nevada, Reno
  • 2. Presentation
    • Arguments for change
    • One proposal for change
    • Recent examples
    • Conclusion
  • 3. Basis
    • Dewey, Carey, Rosen, Reese, Zelizer …
    • Teaching and researching online journalism for 10 years
    • Collaborating in developing a new graduate program
    • Reflecting on recent examples
  • 4. Historic Model Newspapers ____________ Radio and TV stations Magazines Web sites Journalism Schools Educators __________ Students
  • 5. Industry-centered journalism education
        • Professionalism
        • Reporting
        • Socialization
  • 6. 1. Professionalism
    • In 1903 Joseph Pulitzer donated $2 million to Columbia University for a school that would
    • “ emphasize the professional significance of journalism”
    • and exclude courses related to advertising, circulation and newspaper management.
  • 7. 1. Professionalism (now)
    • In 2005 the Carnegie Corporation and Knight Foundation pledged $11 million to revitalize journalism education and produce students who are:
    • “ well-trained, well-educated, honest, trustworthy, curious, intelligent people” who will devote their lives to their profession (Carnegie, 2005).
  • 8. Implications
    • Assumes that reformation of journalism depends on individual journalists rather than structural or institutional change
    • Ignores contradictions between professionalism and commercialism, between ideals and practices
    • Implies a barrier between journalists and citizens
  • 9. 2. Reporting
      • “ The reporter” is the idealized form of journalist targeted in j-schools
      • News gathering is the core skill required of nearly all journalism majors regardless of sequence
      • Assessment and success is measured by producing students with skills to succeed in industrial news production
  • 10. Implications
    • Assumes information scarcity is the primary problem to be solved
    • Assumes information is a commodity to be produced and transmitted to a waiting audience
    • Emphasizes independent news judgment, verification and objectivity as primary values
  • 11. 3. Newsroom socialization
    • Many administrators come from industry and conceptualize journalism similarly
    • Many faculty teach ‘best practices’ from the newsroom
    • Most students are required to do internships in industry and are encouraged to participate in professional competitions
  • 12. Implications
    • Reinforces existing practices rather than critical inquiry
    • Stresses mastery over innovation and experimentation
    • Creates a barrier between practitioners and scholars
  • 13. Journalism Education News Industry The Networked Public Geographic communities/ Communities of interest Proposed Model News Ecology
  • 14. 1. Professionalism
    • Develop curriculum that stresses the values of citizenship and professionalism
    • Develop practices based on critical inquiry and public needs
    • Develop ethical criteria relevant in new contexts
  • 15. 2. Reporting
    • Be more explicit about purpose
    • Educate for multiple journalistic roles: filtering, facilitating, moderating, programming, databases
    • Enlarge the definitions of story, news element, coverage, deadline
    • Reflect on, test and publicly evaluate experiments and experiences
  • 16. 3. Socialization
    • Socialize students to working in communities (online and offline)
    • Teach students to value innovation, uncertainty, experimentation
    • Require sophisticated analysis and critical reflection about their own practices
  • 17. Initial examples
    • (University of Nevada)
    • Nuestro Tahoe (University of Nevada)
    • Reno Noise (University of Nevada)
    • Albany Today (UC Berkeley)
    • NewsMixer (Northwestern)
  • 18.
  • 19. Nuestro Tahoe
  • 20. Reno Noise
  • 21. Albany Today
  • 22. NewsMixer
  • 23. Challenges
    • Difficult to collaborate with disparate groups
    • Difficult for faculty to make community commitments
    • Students want to pursue individualized goals
    • Curriculum schedules inflexible and discontinuous
    • Innovation and experimentation often not rewarded in traditional academic evaluations
  • 24. Conclusion
    • This is a critical moment in the evolution of journalism
    • Journalism educators can play a key role in experimenting, testing and developing new practices and conceptions of what journalism is and could be
    • This work requires that we rethink our own practices within the academy and make our purposes and obligations more explicit
  • 25. Feedback?
    • Donica Mensing ( [email_address] ) @donica
    • 2009-2010 University of Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
    • August 2010, University of Nevada, Reno, US