And so it was the other day when the provost at Indiana University announced she was going to “improve” the university’s award-winning School of Journalism by running it out of Ernie Pyle Hall and mashing it into the College of Arts and Sciences where the scholars in charge will have their way with it. The provost said the journalism education reform we’ve been writing about was part of the reason for change. Yet from all appearances, she knows nothing of our work.
Eric Newton, Knight Foundation. Do Universities Hear the Critics of Journalism Education?
Newton’s piece is an effort to clarify the Knight Foundation’s work on the future of journalism education, which encourages universities to expand their programs, not shrink them, as Indiana University is doing.
Is journalism education getting the message? We’ve been talking about four transformational trends.” Great journalism schools 1. connect with the rest of the university; 2. innovate with digital tools and techniques; 3. master more open,collaborative approaches, and become not just community information providers, but “teaching hospitals” that inform and engage their communities.
Is that message getting through? The first reaction was: We’re doing it! But then schools showed us journalism with no engagement, which is pretty much like hospitals with doctors and medicine but no patients. When we explained, the second reaction was: We can’t do all this! If we teach gizmos, we can’t teach journalism. Wrong again. To teach journalism in the digital age you have to teach both journalism and the digital age — and use modern tools to do it. That’s why the schools that are serious about this are getting bigger, not smaller.
Accompanying the piece is a graphic depicting three layers of journalism education. Schools must do well at the bottom layer in order to climb to the next.
For more, see the report on the Carnegie-Knight Initiative of the Future of Journalism Education.
For this year’s first Knight News Challenge, we intend to harness the momentum from people thinking about and building networks. In the course of our work, we often come across proposals to “build a Facebook that connects X and Y.” We want to move away from that. There are a lot of vibrant networks and platforms, on- and off-line, that can be used to connect us with the news and information we need to make decisions about our lives. This challenge will not fund new networks. Rather, we’re asking you to describe ways you might use existing platforms to drive innovation in media and journalism.
John Bracken, Knight Foundation. Announcing the Knight News Challenge: Networks.
The News Challenge will be open for applications starting February 27 and close March 17. Info at the link above.
The scoop is another scion of the competitive news mindset. There are two kinds of scoops:
1. The exclusive.
Uncovering a unique story through enterprise; something that probably would otherwise have gone unreported. These scoops are great for everyone. Exclusives broaden the universe of topics covered in the news, and so can enrich public discourse.
2. Being first.
Disseminating news of an issue or event before any other news outlet. The classic case is the frenzy among major news orgs to be the “first to call” a presidential election. But it can also mean being the first to report on a polluted site, or a lawsuit, or any definable newsworthy issue. This distinction, I’d argue, has not only ceased to be meaningful—most of the time it’s an outright red herring that damages the quality of news and ill-serves audiences.