Friday, March 13, 2009

The Future for Journalism Schools Is.... (Fill in the Blank)

The Real Answer May Be: It Depends

I was visiting a former boss yesterday who's now a higher-up at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism school in New York, which takes pride in playing the brash upstart to the brahmin of journalism education further uptown -- Columbia.
Inside at the school, just three years old, were students who appeared earnestly devoted to pursuing a career in the news business. Not PR. Not advertising, but news, damn it, in whatever form it may take in the years to come.
They're helped toward that end with some high-profile faculty, including interactive journalism guru Jeff Jarvis, media critic Eric Alterman and Pulitzer winners from Newsday and The New York Times.
Still, most of what happens will be up to them. Hopefully, they'll graduate with a bit more enlightenment than their counterparts in Australia, where a survey found that 90 percent of journalism students don't like reading a newspaper. However, they do like to watch TV and go online. That's fair dinkum, mate.
"They said that newspapers are impractical, they fall apart, you have to buy them," said Alan Knight, the professor who conducted the study. "There are too many long-winded articles, there's no search engines and worst of all they get ink on your fingers."
This from the land of Rupert Murdoch -- for better or worse, one of the most ardent champions of newspapers, even if that makes him a member of an ever-shrinking club. Sigh.
And it looks like they have plenty of company, according to a Pew Research Center study. It found only one-third of people would miss reading their local newspaper if it was no longer published, though 43 percent agreed no paper would hurt "civic life in their community a lot."
Unfortunately, those sentiments may be put to the test in many communities a lot sooner than later.

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