Tribune: Marquette Journalism Program Changes Trigger ‘Frustrations Among Students That Cannot Be Ignored’

A new editorial in The Marquette Tribune raises concerns about recent changes to the Marquette University journalism program, aligning them with the media industry’s larger perceived “dumbing-down.”  Among other critiques, editors cite an apparent over-emphasis on teaching students superficial self-promotion techniques, possibly at the expense of needed journalism principles.

As the piece (hat tip Poynter’s Julie Moos)– headlined “A Call for a Conversation About the Journalism Curriculum“– notes, “Courses that once focused on the nuances of news writing and beat reporting now teach students how to write the most gripping cover letter and create the perfectly polished LinkedIn profile. We were once taught to prioritize context, fairness, and critical thinking. Now, re-tweets, pageviews and self-promotion come before all else.  We do not presume to grade the curriculum’s effectiveness here; that must be done, in time, by administrators and faculty members. We do, however, recognize frustrations among students that cannot be ignored.”

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The Tribune’s serious editorial is coupled with a satirical smackdown of the j-program online.  The current top post on the paper’s Onion-like blog The Turnip outlines a new faux assignment for Marquette j-students: live-tweeting their sleep cycles.  As an imaginary professor is quoted declaring, “We are doing something revolutionary.  Most, if not all, live-tweeting up until this point has been during consciousness. We are going a step further.”

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Within the post, satirical plans are also unveiled regarding Twitter’s takeover of the Tribune itself– to be renamed the Twibune, since it will “publish its articles and columns purely as tweets.”  The conclusion: “Journalism professors could not be reached for comment when asked whether life itself should be replaced by Twitter, as they appeared to be too busy live-tweeting the question asked to contemplate an answer.”

Yowzer.  Let the conversation begin.

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