Changing the way we think of journalism education

Mindy McAdams has written a thoughtful post on whether journalism schools can rise up to the challenges of teaching in a rapidly evolving media ecosystem.

Arguing that j-school programs need to do better, among the challenges she highlighted:

  • Perhaps most important: How to determine the best ways to prepare the journalists of tomorrow—our students.

This is something every j-prof wrestles with. And it prompted me to leave a comment on Mindy’s post, which forms the basis of this post.

I suggest that before we enter a discussion of skills, equipment etc, we need to change the way we think of journalism.

Our role in journalism schools should be to prepare students for the media of tomorrow, rather than simply the newsrooms of today.

At the core of this is how we think about journalism.  The biggest challenge facing j-schools is changing the mindset around journalism.

Rather thank conceiving of journalism as a profession to be defended, j-schools need to acknowledge that media is developing into an open and shared space.

This requires thinking of journalism as a space to be shared, where the voice of the professional journalist is one of many.

J-schools need to help students figure out how their voice as a journalist makes a valuable contribution to this emerging shared media space, be it through traditional news organisations, non-profit start-ups or media entities and forms that the students themselves will create in the future.