Cindy Royal, journalism professor at Texas State University, identifies three guiding principles for journalism schools attempting to conceptualize an entirely new curriculum around digital and data-driven communication.
As a recent Poynter study suggests, journalists and educators have always disagreed about the value and scope of journalism education. For real innovation, j-schools should look to other academic disciplines, not just the industry, for guidance, writes Maija Saari, the academic chair for the School of Communications, Media and Design at Centennial College.
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.
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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