I have written so much on the subject of journalism education, I wanted to make a condensed post of some of those ideas first before I jumped into a point-by-point response to the Carnival of Journalism’s questions.
In February 2009 a group of journalism students held a massive online chat to talk about how journalism education needed to be revamped. Here are the highlights. It’s a great read.
In August 2009, I had the good fortune of appearing on a panel at AEJMC with the likes of Dan Gillmor and Sandeep Junnarkar. Before the panel, I hosted a #collegejourn chat and asked participants what I should tell the room full of educators. Here are the key bullet points of what I gathered:
- It’s going to take much more than throwing social media classes into the curriculum to make real changes needed. Read Daniel Bachhuber’s thoughts on this.
- There’s a lesson plan in comparing ethics policies, legal quandaries and best practices of news organizations using social media. Less emphasis on teaching the tools, more on teaching principles.
- Students who know social media should become TAs or peer teachers, or help organize a bootcamp/BarCamp at school to teach both students and the professors about social media.
- But, professors, please still keep hammering fundamentals. Don’t get lost in the latest buzzword. Everything taught about social media should point straight back to the basics.
A few ideas I wrote about after the panel:
- Students want the ability to experiment and fail. There needs to be a grading system that allows for this.
- Educators and even some students feel queasy about marketing themselves. With all due respect, they need to get over it.
- Don’t teach social media tools, teach concepts behind them. Don’t teach Twitter, teach why Twitter.
- Too many students think someone’s going to fix the industry for them. Sorry. It’s all on the students now.
- From what I’ve heard of Arizona State’s program, it has a lot of things going for it. Gillmor sets up a Ning for each of his classes and has students write and correct Wikipedia entries. There’s also an entrepreneurial class, and (if I remember correctly) students edit each other’s work on live on WordPress.
But to be more on point with the topic of Carnival of Journalism — “the changing role of Universities for the information needs of a community” — I really want to focus on another idea altogether: going outside of j-school to get this done.
Watch for my follow-up post.