Are Journalism Schools and Programs Unscrupulous Cash Cows?

Are journalism schools and programs unscrupulous, educating and enticing students to enter a dying industry?  I don’t think so, as I have previously posted.

But a prominent journalist and past head of the journalism school at City University of London (CUL) believes they are– especially when selling students the dream of a decent journalism gig with decent pay ASAP upon their graduation. 

At a recent bigwig global conference for bigwig global people, the former CUL j-school dean and current World Economic Forum communications managing director Adrian Monck stated, “It is entirely unscrupulous of the academy to look at journalism education as a cash cow through which it can extort money from hopeful young people with the promise of delivery of some form of employment at the end of it.”


Among the problems cited by Monck and a few other journalists and j-school leaders at the conference:

  • Stagnant class syllabi and program curricula.
  • Profs of a certain age who are out of touch with new media realities. (Hmm.)  Back-up quote, courtesy of the University of Toronto journalism program director: “The professoriate is old compared with the state of the media culture now. People came into the journalism academia just before the digital disruption in the newsroom. As a result they are still teaching a curriculum valued in the 1990s but not now.”
  • Students going the j-route for the wrong reasons and without much connection to the news — “too many arts students trying to do something vaguely respectable.”

Bottom line, as University World News reports about a separate speaker’s sentiments: “There has to be some responsibility taken by journalism schools, especially the new schools, that saw journalism as money, money, money. They offered education void of the academic-side learning.”

Happy Monday.


My Take: The Point of Journalism School, Anyway

One Response to “Are Journalism Schools and Programs Unscrupulous Cash Cows?”
  1. Rebecca Bibbs says:

    I have long wondered about the relevance of a traditional J-school education. I’ve asked my former colleagues who made the shift from newsroom to classroom what they’re telling these young journalists about their prospects. I don’t usually get answers. There are some possibilities, especially in SEO, but for those of us who have been “real” journalists, it’s not very satisfying to rehash “articles” that have no potential for creativity, human interaction or significant public service. I think there will, at some point, be a time that we’ll return to more traditional newsgathering, and there will be opportunities for the Perez Hiltons of the world who can start a Web site and build a following but also have the headache of generating income. However, I agree with the author that the people teaching new journalism are stuck in old ways. I freelance for traditional print publications, and though these products initially were weeklies, monthlies or quarterlies, many editors I work with have not caught up to the reality that the Internet has made them dailies, in the same way CNN pushed traditional broadcasters into a 24-hour news cycle. There’s simply no reason for holding stories a week. Publishers aren’t taking advantage of the fact that they now are selling more than one product and that they need to adjust the content accordingly.