Today in St. Louis at the conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, leading journalism schools shared the lessons of their transformation in a new book detailing the successes of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education.
The 132-page report, produced by the Joan Shorenstein Center at Harvard, details major changes at the initiative's 12 participating programs. The schools have added master's degrees to teach deeper "knowledge-based journalism," in science, arts, business and other specialties. At the same time, they've rewritten curriculum to eliminate print and broadcast "silos" and embrace the multimedia digital future of news. And they've launched ambitious online news organizations, from Neon Tommy at the University of Southern California to the New York World at Columbia. "The Carnegie-Knight Initiative," writes Shorenstein director Alex Jones, "should be credited with fostering -- and easing -- needed change well beyond the focus of the individual grants." These campuses, I would say, are leading the most hopeful transformational trends of journalism education.
With a new round of grants from Carnegie and Knight, this now $20 million intiative is expanding to help all journalism and mass communication programs. The national News 21 program headquartered at Arizona State University, a high profile, innovative digital investigative reporting project, is opening up its application process to invite top students from any school. For "knowledge journalism," Harvard's Journalist's Resource shows the kind of in-depth study students are capable of.
It's hard to understate how much some of the country's journalism schools are changing. At the start of this initiative less than a decade ago, news industry leaders did not think journalism education was dealing at all with either the increasing complexity of modern issues or the demands for change and innovation created by this new digital age. Now, a new report shows news industry leaders saying journalism education is improving and has a role to play in the future of news. As it turns out, the great journalism schools are finding they can teach digital innovation and quality journalism at the same time.