Journalism education moves beyond pencils and paper

Islington College Multimedia Lab

Islington College Multimedia Lab

Educational approaches to journalism have become as diverse as the field itself. Gone are the days when journalists were expected to arrive on the scene equipped solely with a pen and a piece of paper. Due to drastic technological advances, accompanied by an explosion of public interest in social media, modern journalists must maintain a variety of skills. The educational goal is to teach specific skills and help students master technology.

Helen Hu is the author of the article, “Changing Course,” published in “Diverse Issues in Higher Education.” She writes that, “In recent years, journalism programs have taken steps to integrate print, TV, radio and the internet into every fiber of students’ training and assignments.” These are the elements which are strongly emphasized in the new model of journalism education. This new model is often referred to as the converged or integrated journalism program. Classes have been designed to expand the traditional journalistic horizon. English and writing courses remain imperative. However, broadcast and multimedia classes have also been incorporated into the standard curriculum. Although these modifications are undoubtedly beneficial in present time, the future remains uncertain.  Glenn Frankel, the director of the School of Journalism at the University of Austin, Texas, likens journalism education to a “moving target.” The progression of technology is both unpredictable and inevitable.

Although this fact initially appears to threaten the well-being of current educational programs, students, professors, and employers must realize that a single person will never embody mere perfection.  Elia Powers, author of an article published in the American Journalism Review entitled, “Learning to Do It All,” compares the new educational methods to a “sampler platter.” You don’t have to become a professional in every dimension of modern journalism.  Still, there is no harm in establishing a dynamic background.  The converged journalism education model allows students to explore the field and understand that the lines between reporting, print, broadcast, and multimedia have grown faint. In modern society, a successful journalism education is one which prepares students with a sense of technological familiarity and confidence.  On that base, future journalists can build a career enriched with opportunity, diversity, and promise.

By Chelsey Kaas

Tom Ksiazek, a professor at Villanova University, discusses the future of Journalism Education:

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