News21 fellow Joe Henke spends an afternoon reading through voting rights material. Photo by Lizzie Chen/News21.
Journalism and communications schools need to recreate themselves if they are to succeed in playing their vital role as news creators and innovators, a group of foundations said in an open letter to university presidents.
The foundations, all of which make grants to journalism education and innovation, urged more universities to adopt a model that blends practice with scholarship, with more top professionals in residence at universities and a focus on applied research.
“In this new digital age, we believe the ‘teaching hospital’ model offers great potential,” as scholars help practitioners invent viable forms of digital news that communities need, said the letter, signed by top representatives of Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Scripps-Howard Foundation, Brett Family Foundation, and Wyncotte Foundation.
The model was described in the 2011 "Carnegie Knight Initiative for the Future of Journalism Education" and is practiced at the Arizona State University, where student-powered News21 has become a major national news source. But it is by no means widespread.