Jan Schaffer Critiques Journalism Education
September 23rd, 2006 by JTJ

We're a bit delayed in learning about this post on
PJNet Today
(“A Public Journalism Network Weblog by Leonard Witt and Colleagues),  but Jan Schaffer's remarks certainly are in line with what the IAJ is learning as we dive into the analysis of last fall's online survey (in five languages) of journalism educators. 

“September 13, 2006

Jan Schaffer Critiques Journalism Education

Jan Schaffer, director of the J-Lab at the University of Maryland,
recently took a few pokes at the way journalism is taught.

Here are the key parts of a just-posted talk she gave at the AEJMC
entitled: What's Next for Newspapers and Journalism

I read several newspapers a day now. I
read them now first as a citizen, second as an old Type A assigning editor. So
often, I find myself unsatisfied with the stories and angry at the coverage.

I worry about the CONVENTIONS of
journalism that we are teaching our students. I worry that some of the
conventions that were used both to define “news” and to safeguard
fairness and balance in journalism are being gamed by media strategists for
their own ends. The result is a journalism that is not serving the public well
– and that the public doesn't much trust.

She adds:

I think the academy itself needs to create some oxygen for
entrepreneurship and innovation in journalism. We need to rethink our
RECRUITING. We reward long-time professionals, who often
don't have the skills to bridge the new media environment. Indeed, one of Maryland's
marquee professors doesn't even do e-mail. When I suggested this year that all
professors be required to put their course syllabi online, I was told it was
not the kind of thing that the school could require and besides a lot of people
wouldn't know how to do it.

We reward long-form storytellers and feature
writing, even though a lot of newspapers and even magazines don't run long
stories or features. We reward Ph.D.'s when often their research is not very
relevant to the future of journalism – and in many cases, in my view, doesn't
really add a lot of value to the knowledge base of journalism.

I think we need
to find new ways to recruit a new diversity of people – diverse in their skill
sets and mindsets – to our faculties. Maybe they are with us for two to three
years, then go back into daily journalism to refresh their skills, then back
into academia. No more sinecures.”


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa