Most journalists are familiar with the Jeff Jarvis one-sheet.
To his credit, the linked economy does appear to be silencing the portal pages of the world, unless there is another underlying force. Young journalists need to learn how to join this ecosystem before they are kicked out the doors of Amazing University Hall and onto the front steps of the We Didn’t Learn About that In College Club.
The journalist toolbox must now extend beyond the gathering of facts and distribution of information. Journalists must also know what platform makes sense for that particular piece of information – print, web or mobile; what vehicle to distribute it with – text, photos or video; and how to reach the intended audience – syndication, portability, partnerships, social media, SEO and SEM.
The above addresses newsroom situations we encounter daily, which often result in duplication and inefficiencies in storytelling. What it doesn’t address is the other challenge journalists are struggling with as resources are cut and high-priority is placed on cross-training journalists on writing, videography and photography.
What is “good enough” when it comes to photo and video? Are journalists expected to understand the concept, the art, and the techniques, as well as, be able to execute at any moment in time? Is it “good enough” know when to hand the keys over to the designated driver?
“At CUNY we teach every student to do audio, video, blogging, live-blogging, use Twitter,” Jarvis said in The Washington Post opinion piece.
This statement seems to suggest every journalist should know how to drive every vehicle. I have to wonder what impact this is having on the training of the journalists. How is this changing the way journalism programs are structured? Is it watering down the experience, instead of illuminating the strength of each individual?
The answers to these questions are still being debated at a higher-level. However, in the meantime, if there is an ecosystem, a videographer should feel comfortable relying on the nutrients of others in the newsroom and in the community to provide context to a visual piece. The reverse is also true.
As universities iterate on the programs, and attempt to predict the future, I hope they will keep this in mind so we can focus on the fact gathering, which is the ultimate job.
While researching online this morning for the new media grant I’m applying for, I ran across a very “old media” program.
It reminded me of a tweet from Jay Rosen: “Journalism Professors: Catch up, or we’re all left behind.” Rosen was quoting another source, but nonetheless it caught my attention and the attention of many of his followers
The University of Alabama community journalism (Com-J) program caught my attention because it highlights the need for local coverage, as well as, the need to embed students in a newspaper so they can gain professional journalism experience.
What this simple description is missing is a digital focus. And please – take “teaching newspaper” off the site immediately!! Working at the award-winning Anniston Star newspaper is not your value proposition folks!
Converting the newspaper into an award-winning digital machine is the silver lining. Why not take advantage of the students to make the newspaper a digital beast, which captures online community conversations, participates in local online partnerships and embraces the fact community news is still flourishing – just not necessarily in print.
Offering tuition, a stipend, health insurance, a degree and professional experience is also amazing.
Oh, and by the way, let me know when you make these changes.