Are Students Receiving Too Much Tech Training in Journalism School?
Are j-schools and j-programs “jumping on the flashy new media bandwagon” at the expense of the basic skills of the craft?
According to a new About.com piece by Tony Rogers, a veteran journalist and head of the j-program at Bucks County Community College near my old stomping grounds in Pa., there is a growing fervor among j-educators “that the fundamentals of news gathering are being pushed aside in favor of an ever-expanding array of tech-related classes.”
The write-up is light on specific examples, touching mainly on the recent Colorado j-school and Montana public affairs reporting class sagas- easy targets and still outliers in my opinion. But Rogers does pepper the piece with a few significant voices echoing his tech-run-amok thesis that are worth a read.
Virginia Breen, a SUNY Purchase j-prof who has worked with journalism students nationwide in various capacities: “You have to wonder how much you can cram in a curriculum without diluting the essentials.” During her recent interactions with j-students, she said she saw them display “incredible technical skills, but I did notice that a few required a surprising amount of guidance on journalism fundamentals.”
Linn Washinton, Temple University j-prof and co-director of the school’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab: “[T]oo much emphasis has been placed on the bells and whistles of technology and not on the fundamental purpose of journalism- to provide information to the public and to serve as a watchdog on government.”