Monday, September 08, 2008

What A Drag It Is Being Young

Blogger/J-School Student Alana Taylor Says Print Is A Pain, Provoking Storm of Criticism, Sympathy and Grudging Praise

Ah, youth, especially the newbies who are braving journalism school, especially when they have to put up with professors who remember when newsrooms still had copyboys and allowed smoking.
On exhibit is one Alana Taylor, an NYU junior who knows she doesn't have it all figure out yet, except for one thing -- print versions of newspapers suck, especially The New York Times.

"Every single journalism class at NYU has required me to bring the bulky newspaper. I don’t understand why they don’t let us access the online version, get our current events news from other outlets, or even use our NYTimes app on the iPhone."

Now, it would be easy to simply say Taylor is a spoiled Missy Boo-Hoo bothered by the fact that she has to be pried away from Facebook long enough to read the Times. As I told her in a comment to her blog post, holding the paper and choosing what to read is still easier and infinitely more rewarding than the online experience can offer, at least for now.
But if you look at her full post in a broader context, she has a point. The NYU J-school apparently still doesn't have a handle on so-called new media beyond teaching some of the technical how-to stuff, according to Taylor.
It's hard, then, for profs to relate to how their students are most frequently interacting with media, which unfortunately does not include reading a print newspaper very often.
In other words, Taylor and her classmates need a mix -- a healthy dose of the new and constant reminders of the old, to remind students of where the bedrock of journalism can be found.

"At this point I may not learn too much I don’t already know about my generation and where it’s taking journalism. But one thing’s for sure — I’m certainly going to gain some insight into what exactly they mean by generation gap."

I already have an idea where her generation is taking journalism, however. And it's not someplace where I'm very comfortable residing.
What I do know is that j-students won't become better journalists when they read some desiccated version of a newspaper on an iPhone.
Buy the Times. Then read it. Get your fingers dirty. It's a small price to pay. You may actually learn something, and for a lot less than what you're paying NYU.

1 comment:

Alana said...

Thanks for seeing a bit of my point. One of the reasons I made the comment about the New York Times which I didn't really clarify in my post on MediaShift was that the previous classes I took at NYU all required me to bring the paper and then we would never really touch them. We just had a short discussion on current events during the first 10 minutes and that was it.

1)You could tell that what people knew about the news didn't necessarily come from the NYTimes. Maybe they saw it on the news that morning or read it somewhere else -- like the Washington Post.

2)At the end of the class, as everyone filed out... everyone just trashed their hardly-read newspapers. I just thought "wow, so much paper."

So... the one thing that I think people misunderstood about my MediaShift post was that I didn't like the NYTimes. That isn't the case at all. I really like the NYTimes. I just wish I could read it a different way, that's all.