Professor of journalism at the University of Kent, Tim Luckhurst, has raised the issue of the gulf between journalism study and practice in a recent review of the ‘The Future of Newspapers,’ a collection of academic essays.
In his Times Higher Education piece, Luckhurst praises the book’s editor Bob Franklin – who led a journalism education conference on the subject in Cardiff in September 2008 – for making the academic study of journalism relevant to journalists and for dealing with the internet. But, Luckhurst argues, it also reveals “how far the academy must travel before its endeavours can make a significant impact on the industry it toils to describe”.
“[J]ournalism academics must learn from the new generation of multimedia reporters,” he writes.
Relevance in journalism demands speed. Published online by their authors as soon as they were written, complete with links and summaries of no more than 800 words, several of these essays might have been discussed in newsrooms. Instead journalists read Media Guardian and academics are exiled from the debates that will define the future.
To achieve impact in the online era, the study of journalism must embrace new working practices, just as it counsels journalists to change the habits of their lifetimes.