Journalism That Matters: Education That Matters

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Report of Journalism That Matters Breakout session
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Journalism That Matters: Education That Matters

This session was held at George Washington University Cafitz Conference Center on Aug. 8, 2007 as part of the Journalism That Matters convening. It was convened by Peggy Kuhr, dean of the University of Montana journalism school. Participants focused generally on the question "What do we tell the students" - initiated by Peggy. (Please feel free to edit/contribute)


VIEW AUDIO/VIDEO EXCERPTS OF THIS BREAKOUT SESSION

Summary Questions

  • Is J a Craft, Profession, act (of living) or all three?
  • J education – why bother? This work is vital
  • What about value added?

Summary Observations

  • J-school= center of skills and experiences
  • Be a better communicator
  • Grounding in ethics
  • Community Management
  • A role in giving a voice to many (lead public discourse)
  • Media literacy
  • Be a part of the storytellers
  • Remember how important accreditation and making a living is


Discussion about the professional vs. amateur role of journalists and how that affects teaching.

Is there still a role for professional journalist? Journalism educators need to think about citizen management and encouragement.

Need to have professionals that know about something more than just to communicate.

It may be more useful to look at journalism as a craft.

(Rough notes, Andrew MacRae AMacRae@get-involved.org) Journalism is something that people do, "like teaching kids to look both ways before crossing the street". It does not require professionals teachers

Hopes that the Professional exists to get a paycheck

multiculturalism is an important part of Journalism.

When we teach students what are we pushing?

@ NewsTrust.net train new journalists, but also basic media literacy.

Students are not being taught to manage news in a gift economy

From a university perspective, what are universities lacking? Community management skills are necessary in addition to defined skill sets (Dreameaver, flash, etc).

The importance of thinking about journalism as a craft annunciates that Journalism is a living one. Professionalism sets up an us vs. them approach.

We really need to reevaluate the skills we are teaching - - -

Get people excited about the act or craft of journalism, instead of getting them excited about the specifics of being editors, authors, etc.

Journalism does not have a monopoly on its skills - perhaps relying on an interdisciplinary model.

Young Alum from schools feel as if they have a good skill set, but need to know more about the financial side.

William - said that as an admin he would be very hard to sell on the idea that he



Ellen Scully-Russ (ems2104@columbia.edu)- very rough notes - mostly pertaining to the discussion of the shifting division of labor in the journalistic social activity and the impliciations for who teaches what to whom

Professionalization vs the Amateuration of Journalism

  • Are there other professions where there a lots of amateurs claiming professional or occupational jurisdiction?
  • Naturalization and integration of J into daily life– communications skills for everyone
  • J school teach people to take on defined roles – Journalist, photojournalist – but those roles do not reflect the real world jobs
  • Important that we teach everyone to be better of the act of J
  • Something that people can do – does not have to be professional just like people teach children all the time but not all are ‘teachers’
  • Young people in J school today want to be professionals – but they do not necessarily want to be journalists and even less want to be newsprint journalists
  • What is the role of media literacy? Can the public recognize quality journalism – part of being a citizen is to break down the lines between news journalists and citizens – educate people to be the gatekeepers?
  • Train journalists to be good citizens
  • Hard for professionals to let go of their role and jurisdiction in the social division of labor because professional trade money for status – professionalization offers individuals status in society
  • What is the role of the professional J in new media/social media? No longer shoe leather reporting – you can be a professional J and not do the writing that J is doing now – work with the public and manage the community – citizen management is a new aspect of the journalistic profession - this is what the J schools should be teaching – I learn tools in J school but they are not a mindset to manage them.
  • Teaching people to be J – do skills and expertise equate
  • Having professionals who know something other then how to communicate – expertise in a subject that they are writing about
  • J as a Craft v profession – lot of journalists learn by doing and have not been to J school – craft workers learn their craft by participating in extensive apprenticeships – you can do a lot of damage if you are not aware of craft standards and practices and this is also true in journalism – we can learn a lot from practicing journalists, for example how to understand the media, how to write – teaching others to do this
  • Shifting division of labor – and effects on what J school teach and who they teach

Re-evaluate where the jobs are for example – community manager – there is actual work there and are J students being prepared for this – don’t necessarily to get students excited about being a reporter – but the act of journalism and the various jobs they can do with journalistic skills Are journalists the only ones who are required to communicate - the core basics of gathering and presenting info and many occupations need to learn to do this – J does not have a monopoly on their core skills – this leads to the question of mindset - are journalists the only ones who should adhere to journalistic practices and standards – teaching others the j mindset – how to look at information and reporting from a Journalistic perspective – is there a role for J schools in teaching other professions Journalism skills

  • The flip side of the is discussion are what other skills are required by journalists that we do not teach at J school – team leadership, financial skills


  • What is the value added of J skills to students and society?

What about the First Amendment– who will protect this if the press goes away – what role will citizen j play in protecting the basic right?

Midel U is now all J school . . . J schools have taken a narrow focus and what we need is teach info gather skills to anyone who wants to participate in the public discourse

  • Skills based discussion – also need to include the identity and enrollment in a community of practice – this is what animates and excite students – very few 18 year olds are motivated by the image of the journalist who stands up to the state – they associate this with politics and this does not animate them – if we are going to motive students to journalism we have to wrap it in a different ethos
  • How to enroll the students in the ethos of the profession – partner with a press organization and give students exposure to the profession – get them to see their name in print
  • The lack of student animation for the profession resonates with a j student in the crowd – we are not excited about standing up to the man – old model one journalist asking tough questions of the man – I represent the public – our generation gets excited about gathering the public so that the crowd can speak to the man – who speaks truth to power – on line communities – face book – if you can convince these communities that they can matter in speaking to power they will participate
  • What about our J school accreditation if we are talking about expanding our curriculum and expanding our programs to the include other groups