18 thoughts on New J-Skills: What to Measure?

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  2. You’re right, Amy, it’s a lot of stuff. It’s also hard for me to imagine shaping some of this to fit into a 15-week semester. The CMS exercise is adaptable (you can’t do it for a year, but you can do it for 15 weeks), but some of the others would be quite a challenge.

    The mobile part is particularly good, I think.

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  4. Yep, I know it’s a lot to work into a 15-week semester. I’m definitely not discussing a single course within an existing traditional j-school structure, but an overhaul of the entire journalism program — including closer partnerships with business schools.

    Not being in academia, I guess I have more freedom to think that way 🙂

    That said, I think any steps made in the directions I mentioned would help. So take from this list what you will.

    – Amy Gahran

  5. A huge list, it’s almost three years of work, perhaps it could fit into a business degree somehow – the business of new media and social marketing.
    I agree with Mindy to some degree, to fit this into a semester (we only have 12 weeks!) it would require a radical shift in the syllabus, perhaps we could provide a new major within the degree to allow some specialisation in this area, rather than a whole structure for all students.
    I suggest this because I don’t think we really know when newspapers and broadcast news is going to die (if ever) and so we still have to provide graduates with a range of skills for both old, new and emerging media platforms.
    I don’t think we can abandon print just yet.

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  9. Martin — I didn’t say we should abandon print, or core journalism skills. I envision these points in addition to core journalism skills and training for traditional media.

    That said, traditional news org jobs for journalists are already disappearing at an amazing rate, so it’s patently unfair to equip new journalists only with skills, experience, and perspective that relies on getting a traditional news org job. That’s setting them up to fail, IMHO.

    I’d rather give them the skills they really need to make their own opportunities in this fast-changing media landscape. And, as far as I’ve seen, the vast majority of j-schools fall woefully short in this regard so far.

    – Amy Gahran

  10. Hi Amy,
    As a recent master’s graduate, I agree that today’s j-school students are somewhat under-prepared for what lies ahead. Schools are scrambling to teach the new skills their students will need in the workforce, but often have trouble finding qualified individuals to teach new-media classes.

    I’ve been out of school for a year now and have worked as an editor, writer and Web content developer. I know that there are other markets for my skills, but I don’t know where they are. I’m not much better off than I was before grad school.

    I went back to school to get an inside look at the present and future of journalism. Unfortunately, I don’t think j-schools have that perspective right now. The changes we’re seeing aren’t just about print versus Web. The business of information is changing, too. And that’s where I feel most ignorant.
    -Felicia Russell

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  12. Hi, Felicia

    I’m sorry to hear that you feel shortchanged in some important ways by your graduate journalism education — but I’m not surprised.

    I’m thinking there’s an opportunity here for a journalism organization that offers e-learning (maybe Poynter? I’ll nudge folks there) to partner with a business school that offers e-learning to create online courses and exercises. Not a formal graduate degree per se, but a partnership that would at least provide journalists in need with valid skills.

    Given the fairly fossilized structure of most j-schools, maybe it doesn’t make sense to work within their degree programs for this. Maybe we need more freedom to hire the right people and form the right partnerships to offer this education.

    Only holding a bachelor’s degree myself, I tend to think advanced degree programs in many fields (including journalism) are often vastly overrated. There are many other options for getting the education you need, IMHO.

    – Amy Gahran

  13. Fascinating post. I’m a journalism student in the UK just finishing a post-graduate course. I also very recently had an article published (reposted on my blog) on this very topic.

    All of the ideas you propose are interesting, but the consensus with other commenters seems to be that such a programme would require a 2-3 year degree.

    A lot of journalism students (over here, at least) take a first degree in another area – economics in my case – then a 1 year postgrad journalism qualification.

    Our course has very little new media content, but term is already packed. Can we really expect students to take 2-3 years extra education when the starting pay into journalism is so low?

    We need journalists with knowledge outside journalism – science, business and technology reporters should all know their fields. Journalism education needs to cut to just core skills – and I think in this case, that means leaving the business side to learn on-the-job.

    After all, learning writing, reporting, copy editing, shorthand, CMS, mobile tech, design, and media law is enough for anyone to be getting on with…isn’t it?

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  16. Hi Amy, I didn’t mean to imply you suggested we should drop print, I was saying I don’t think we can afford to, yet, if at all? So, it seems to me we’ve still got what a friend of mine calls the “pint pot problem”, more beer than space in the glass.
    We’re all under pressure to teach larger classes; our existing staff need re-training till we get some new hires; unless you have a generous dean, or a benefactor program it’s unlikely you’ll have all the gear you need.
    Sorry, I don’t want to sound too gloomy about it. The technology is becoming cheaper and open-source software is good. I also think there are some great innovations, experiments and pace-setting progams around, particularly in the US – beat blogging, twitter, etc-the rest of the world is catching up. Some faster than others.
    That’s why the j-ed blogs collectively and individually make such an important contribution. Those of us in your and Mindy’s slipstreams are lucky and committed fellow travellers.

    My thinking has lept ahead over the past 12 months. I’ve had an opportunity to travel and visited a couple of US j-schools and spoken to American and Canadian hackademics. I was at the WEJC gathering in Singapore last year, Exciting, but also somewhat disappointing (for later, over a beer). I’m now in the UK on a three month sabbatical at City University.

    On 17/18 October there’s a conference The End of Journalism? at U Bedfordshire in Luton, then in mid December a one day conference on convergence, media studies, journalism and the curriculum in Bristol.

    There is movement, progress and plenty to do. I love these comments and posts, I’m learning every day.

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