links for 2008-04-11

One thought on “links for 2008-04-11

  1. Amy,

    Your musings are magnificent. Dave Johnson here. I continue to learn more about new media and new tools from Contentious than anywhere else, and you stir my curiosity to search for more info on this emerging new age of journalism.

    A few comments on your excellent points about what j-school students need to learn.

    1 — Of course don’t take it personally when students are not engaged by your talks on new media. As a baby boomer parent of a 20- and a 16-year-old, I attribute this limited capacity to engage on: a) the channel clicker (wouldn’t you love to channel click your way through college courses?) and b) the indulgence of us boomer parents who have over-stimulated our kids from their first two-year-old birthday party gala at Chucky Cheese’s to vacations I could only dream of as a kid to year-round organized sports to all sorts of electronic toys that have left our kids with abbreviated attentions spans and the inability to sit for more than five minutes. Now if you could compress your talk into a five-minute YouTube video, you might nab ‘em…

    2 — In your talks, do you tell your own story? How you transitioned from the old-school journalism of EUN and very corporate publishing environment to an entrepreneur in Boulder? Methinks that required daring, courage, independence, inventiveness, risk-taking, a sense of adventure, curiosity and only someone who has done it like you knows what else.

    Students should know the full story – entrepreneurial journalism may be on the rise, but it is no easy gig. It requires the above characteristics, of which I’m dubious can be taught in the classroom. Over 30 years in journalism/publishing, I have encountered very few entrepreneurs. Most were salespeople.

    3 — Most of us want to take the path of least resistance. Which is not risk-taking entrepreneurship. It’s the old career path for j-schoolers of graduating and getting into trade mag publishing (low barrier of entry), local newspapers (with scant resources for online investments) or go the PR/ad agency route. Only the best and the brightest will qualify for big-time mainstream media.

    4 — Also, where are, who are the role models to inspire students to take the path less taken? For my generation, it was Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman aka Woodward and Bernstein. For today’s students… Matt Drudge? Arianna Huffington? I know there are inventive folks such as yourself and people you link us to, but one needs to be wired into your world and your network to find and learn from these people.

    5 — Two more barriers to change for today’s j-school students: the very engrained culture of the media, and the equally entrenched culture of academia. Both are very insular and defensive. Both are being forced by economics to change. But change comes very incrementally. Counter-culturists, such as you and your fellow bloggers, linksters, community builders, etc., are the minority.

    6 — One more barrier: how does a j-school grad make a living blogging or aggregating or moderating conversations? How do you raise a family as a blogger? Where’s the business model for profitable blogging, linking, aggregating, etc? We know the search goes on. Drudge I understand has a profitable site, but runs it on a shoestring budget. You must have seen last week New York Time’s piece on overworked and underpaid blogger-slaves. We need that business model to draw mainstream media, academia and students to invest in the brave new world of journalism. Everything follows profits, to paraphrase the saying.

    7 — I agree with you completely that journalism students need a more rounded education, including economics, marketing, etc. But I’ve got to tell you, I chose my journalism school on the basis of it not requiring any math courses. I think a good number of j-students get into the major precisely because it does not call for math and business skills. They’d have to be mandated.

    8 — If the message to students is that most of them will work in a media environment that is some hybrid of old school/new school journalism, blending the old conventions with the new tools, how this “blend” works needs to be spelled out.

    Anyway, great topic, and again, you make excellent points.


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