Journalism Education 2.0: New Media, New Mindsets

What are the positive characteristics of American journalism education 2.0? According to a recent Diverse Issues in Higher Education report, they include:

More students than ever.  As the DIHE piece relates: “To be sure, unlike daily newspapers, magazines and commercial TV newscasts, journalism schools are not struggling with their numbers. Enrollment has inched upward every year since the mid-1990s.”  (Sadly though, j-enrollment is not as healthy at schools located within our neighbor to the north, according to new Canadian Journalism Project and Macleans reports.)

Students who view a journalism degree as a solid base for other post-grad pursuits or interests.  Joe Foote, dean of Oklahoma University’s Gaylord School of Journalism and Communications: “Now we find students who study (journalism) with the intention of going to law school, grad school or business school. They are not vocational-minded at all but see the utility of a journalism degree. We are now seeing a first generation of students coming at this from the front end, not expecting to enter the profession. In the past, it was after they got out they decided they didn’t want to do (journalism). This has reinvigorated journalism education in a special way.”

A slow-but-steady retooling of j-schools and j-programs– their courses, curricula, academic and professional collaborations, and faculty credentials.  DIHE: “They are rethinking their methods for hiring new faculty, providing free in-depth content to news organizations, partnering with foundations and corporations to develop strategies to save news outlets and teaming up with other academic divisions at their respective universities to offer dual programs.”

J-student projects that make a difference now and uncover slices of life j-professionals no longer have the time or resources to cover.  One example cited in the piece: A University of Mississippi student reporting project that includes a story series on “life in the Mississippi Delta” that is being considered for potential publication in newspapers statewide.

According to Carol Pardun, director of the University of South Carolina’s J&MC school, “The project at Ole Miss- those kinds of things are happening all over the country. It’s a very exciting time for students. They can become the experts and they often know more about the skill set (after graduation) than those that have been working in there for a very long time.”

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