In September, a group of students from the University of British Columbia won an Emmy Award for their documentary on the dumping of electronic waste. The students were working in partnership with the PBS documentary series Frontline and now the university is at it again, joining forces with the Globe and Mail for an investigation into shrimp and food sustainability.
Journalism students need to be taught entrepreneurship skills, says Waldram – a trend that is emerging in the US and slowly starting in the UK.
“Part of the problem, I think, is not only that journalism courses are slow to amend their teaching syllabus in accordance with the changing times (probably because they have worked so well untouched for years), but also many local newspapers have failed to adapt to digital migration at the same pace as their readers. So even if trained journalists fresh out of j-school are given the right tool-set to aptly do online news, there are at the moment little places from them to shine while regional newspapers themselves adjust. In that gap, however, students could use what skills they do have to start up hyperlocal sites to continue practise their unique combination of traditional and new media skills. It’s this entrepreneurship which is being taught at CUNY, and our British counterparts should also be encouraged to do,” she writes.
“Journalism is not a profession like engineering, medicine or even law. You can pick up most media skills on the job, or with a few hours of instruction. If you screw up, nobody dies, and nothing collapses. This is why so many – perhaps most – journalism pros have built successful careers without touching J-school, and why many of them considered a J-degree a dubious credential even in the field’s heyday,” writes Richard Sine.
Journalism school deans should cut their intakes to avoid flooding the industry with graduates, who will be eager to take on the role of laid-off staff, for lower pay, he adds.
Some interesting points raised in this IDS article (hat tip @joshhalliday) on changes to the school’s journalism curriculum from April.
“We will be starting a new curriculum of journalism that will focus more on the integration of technology,” Marilyn Weaver, department of journalism chairperson, has said
But how far should j-schools go in adapting their curriculums to technology – and what elements should endure?