Journalism & Technology: A Love Story, by Bryan Murley

Journalism and technology are NOT at odds in higher ed. classrooms and curricula worldwide, according to the Center for Innovation in College Media‘s Bryan Murley.  In a recent revved-up rant of a post, Murley attempts to quash what he considers “the tired, tired refrain that we’re teaching too much tech in journalism schools.”

A piece whose refrain he particularly disdains ran in September on About.com.  As I blogged after it went live, it is by a journalism educator outside Philadelphia discussing the supposedly growing fervor among “some journalists and educators alike [who] are starting to wonder if lessons in the fundamentals of newsgathering are being pushed aside in favor of an ever-expanding array of tech-related classes.”

In full, and rightful, attack-dog mode, Murley rips this supposition to its anecdotally threadbare core.  In his words, “I don’t really care whether ‘some journalists and educators’ are ‘starting to wonder’ if something is happening. I care whether something is actually happening. And I don’t see it. . . . I can’t think of a single journalism pundit– from Jeff Jarvis to Steve Buttry to Jay Rosen to Nick Carr– who is advocating such an approach to journalism programs. . . . [N]obody is advocating replacing journalism fundamentals with a string of tech ‘how-to’ classes.”

Near the close of his piece, Murley underscores his thesis with talk of the cello.  As he writes:

In the hands of a skilled practitioner, it can create beautiful music. But a cello is a form of technology. Keeping it tuned and in proper working condition takes a level of knowledge about the instrument. Knowing where to fret and how to bow the strings takes technical skill. But you can’t play cello well unless you know the fundamentals of musical notation, of reading the composer’s instructions, etc.  So music instructors teach ‘technology’ and ‘fundamentals’ in tandem. It’s the same in any creative process.

From the perspective of Murley, and me, that includes journalism.

P.S. Bryan, happy birthday.  (CICM just turned five years old.) :-)

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