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.