Monday, May 18, 2009

What Journalism School Should Offer

I read an article today written by Mark Coughlan, a fellow freelance journalist based our of Dublin, Ireland, entitled ‘Giving Journalism Education a Kick in the Arse.’ And I have to say I laughed and then felt the need to give my own two sense. The gist of his post was that there are some things Journalism schools should keep when training the next generation, and there are somethings that need to be revised. As my earlier post would suggest, I concur.

What to add:

Intro to Web Writing. No journalism student should leave a four-year university and not know how to write for the web. And no, it is not the same as writing for a print publication, sorry.

Advanced Web Writing. Once the basics are learned in an advanced course should be at least offered, if not required, to help students understand how to pen timely stories for the web. News breaks and a site needs the story up that same day - again unlike the print side.

Intro to Social Media. This should walk the students through the biggest social media sites. They should learn how to use the sites both to cultivate sources as well as to build a recognizable ‘brand’ around his/her name. Also teach what not to do (like no drunken half-clothed party shots from the weekend), what to do (yes have your clips accessible on LinkedIn) and what’s optional (website - semi-optional, blog - a must.)

Basic Web Design. Students shouldn’t just graduate with the knowledge of how to lay a page out in InDesign. They need to be able to create pages, make their own website, and sorry but it’s got to look better than the sites from the 90s.

Integration 101. As a journalism major, there is something lacking from the education if you don’t know how to take and mildly edit a picture, film and edit video, etc... Even without any desire to go into TV or photography, more and more writers are being asked to cross over.

New Media Ethics. Now that the content sharing lines tend to blur thanks to blogs, home-made sites and social media, what’s ethical when it come to using pictures, video, art, etc... It’s not as black and white as print.

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