Beyond J-School: Helping students build a future for digital news

Beyond J-schoolDiscussions on the future of journalism, or the future of the news business, often ignore one very important piece of the puzzle: education. A new series called Beyond J-School on the PBS Media Shift site is taking an in-depth look at the opportunities and the need for change. I’ve only scratched the surface on the series, but on first appearance, it appears to be a valuable contribution to the ongoing discussion.

Unfortunately, evolution in journalism schools has often moved slower than in the professional industry (which can be glacial itself).  It is somewhat understandable, since tenured professors who are experts in their fields suddenly found their field to be less desirable and less relevant than it was just a few years ago. As the demand for new media curriculum has risen over the past decade, many of those professors turned up their noses and discounted new methods, new technology as fads not to be taken seriously.

The best professors, meanwhile, rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty with new technology in an attempt to find the best ways to use it for journalism. They’re the ones who will be most interested in this new PBS series. Learning new tricks isn’t as easy as relying on past successes, but it’s the only way to help students build the future for news in a digital world.

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