Media people who feel smug because they have a Twitter handle, an about.me page, and 500 friends on Facebook often seem to think there is something magical about their ability to navigate social media. There’s not. Social media is easy to use, the barrier to entry is almost zero, and it’s not at all impressive in the larger realm of what constitutes “new journalism,” or whatever it is we’re supposed to call journalism that involves the use of Big Data and interactive infographics.
Journalism skills, however – those antiquated intangibles that fusty old out-of-touch Columbia tries to teach – are non-trivial. Journalists have to be able to not only write, but to also process and synthesize complicated ideas in a short time, structure narratives, master the art of interviewing, take notes really fast, self edit, research in places where others don’t think to look, speak truth to power, ask ballsy questions that might otherwise get their teeth smacked in, construct arguments, dismantle other arguments, see through bullshit, and think on their feet. You can learn those things by yourself through hard work and experience, but it’ll take more than 40 seconds.
Hamish McKenzie, PandoDaily, So Columbia Journalism School’s new dean doesn’t Tweet. So what?
FJP: We’d argue that Twitter and this overall social media thing takes more than 40 seconds to learn but Hamish’s argument against Michael Wolff’s criticism of the Columbia J-School — and its appointment of Steve Coll as its dean — is well worth the read.
Bonus: Jihii Jolly’s Why I’m Paying for J-School.
Al Jazeera English to be honored with Columbia Journalism Award
May 4, 2011
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism will bestow its highest honor, the Columbia Journalism Award, to Al Jazeera English. The award is given annually during the school’s commencement ceremony to recognize an individual or organization for “singular journalism in the public interest.”
Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism just held an interview with its Dean, Nicholas Lemann, about the school’s education philosophy and why one would choose to actually attend a professional journalism school.
Click to listen, right click to download the mp3.
Conducted by Dean of Students Sree Sreenivasan and broadcast via Blog Talk Radio, the purpose of the interview was to reach out to prospective students and answer questions they may have.
Obviously Columbia-centric but Lemann touches on a number of issues, both educational and professional, facing the industry that we thought many here would like to listen in on.
Run time: ~30 minutes.
Those interested in hearing further conversation with the admissions department can do so via the podcast archive at Blog Talk Radio.
I used to have a phrase that I deployed at the Guardian, which I stole from our chief technology strategist, which is “being of the Web, not just on the Web.” Digital journalism is about creating a living sort of news, rather than a finished article, and that’s the key difference. If you’re just putting stories on the Web—it doesn’t mean that stories aren’t good or that people won’t read them—but there’s a fundamental difference between that and actually producing digital journalism.