Most journalism schools don’t like to talk to their students about public relations. They teach them nothing about PR history, theory, ethics and practice. It’s as if they believe that by teaching them about the “dark side” they will somehow be made impure. Journalism professor Ira Basen writes this lack of knowledge about PR does a real disservice to journalists.
Journalism students are often told these days that if they want to make it in today's tough job market, they need to "build their personal brand." One high profile journalist challenged that advice in a column which led to an interesting debate online.
As universities everywhere focus on attracting and retaining students at a time when college-age populations are declining, they are not doing enough to ensure those students get a quality education, according to an article just published in The Chronicle for Higher Education.
In a piece called "A Perfect Storm for Higher Education," an associate professor of English at Hope College in Michigan, who uses the pen name Thomas Benton, outlines how recent trends in higher education are undermining how much students learn.
"Politicians and the public are quick to blame college faculty members for the decline in learning, but professors—like all teachers—are working in a context that has been created largely by others: Few people outside of higher education understand how little control professors actually have over what students can learn."
Benton identifies some of the reasons college degrees in the U.S. don't have the same value they once did. Many Canadian educators will agree that some of the same problems exist here, too.
Professors who are perfectionists are less likely to produce and publish research, a new study concludes.
"The more perfectionistic the professor, the less productive they are," says a Dalhousie University psychology professor, Simon Sherry, in an article published by University Affairs in January. Dr. Sherry says he and his colleagues used an online survey to examine the impact of perfectionism on professors. He described perfectionism as "the common cold of academia."
The study was published in the October 2010 issue of the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science.
The students Wayne MacPhail sees know practically nothing about the online world or emerging media; their journalistic training reaches only a tentative few feet beyond the same traditional media it always has. He thinks that j-school training needs to be something more.
Technology is taking over the curriculum at too many j-schools and the results are "disastrous," accorinding to a well-known journalism educator and the author of the widely-used News Reporting and Writing, now in it's 12th edition.
Melvin Mencher says instruction in basic reporting and writing, journalism history and ethics is being squeezed by the growing number of tech-related courses, in a story published at About.com:Journalism.
"How you can have a curriculum that's limited to 30 hours and stuff it with things like how to make a video and or create a blog?" he says in a phone interview. "What the hell does that have to do with the basics of reporting?"
Mencher wonders why more journalism faculty don't resist the shift and suggests that too many of them have spent too much time earning PhDs and too little time in newsrooms.
The University of Colorado at Boulder is planning to shut down its traditional journalism and mass communication programs.
In a statement on its website, the university says it wants to consider, instead, a new interdisciplinary academic program of information and communication technology and has set up an exploratory committee to help it do that.
A recent and successful Carleton journalism graduate says j-school has a lot to offer students these days, but not the one thing most of them want - a job in journalism.
Laura Drake graduated from Carleton University's School of Journalism in 2007 and has worked for three major daily newspapers in Canada.
In a column at macleans.ca she offers some advice to those who want to go to j-school.
"What a journalism undergraduate degree will get you are amazing memories, good connections with profs who know hundreds of working journalists, marketable skills in the form of writing and communications abilities. What it will not get you, and what no one ever promises it will get you, is a job in journalism."
Reflections for J-Educators
Journalism education in Canada is changing both because journalism is changing and the demand for post-secondary journalism programs is growing. This site is designed to help teachers of journalism in Canada find and share ideas, curricula, approaches and resources that might help them as educators of the next generation of journalists in Canada.
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Peter Worthington would have known that there is a venerable tradition of journalists writing...5 days 1 hour ago
I like this. It's very important to see the closeness of public relations and journalism....5 days 5 hours ago
Do journalists really need to take a course to learn that practitioners of PR are working for...5 days 8 hours ago