The following is cross-posted from the Knight Digital Media Center. It is written by Lisa Williams, the CEO and founder of Placeblogger.com and a consultant for the Knight Community Information Challenge.
What would you do if you could build a brand-new journalism school from scratch? Monclair State in New Jersey is doing just that.
"Do universities hear the critics of journalism education" by Eric Newton on KnightBlog
Not too long ago, I visited Gainesville, Fla., home of the University of Florida/Gainesville, where I participated in Journalism/Interactive. The main focus of this organization? Reforming, and reinventing journalism education.
Journalism education is at a crossroads: As tuition continues to rise while employment in the field has taken a terrifying nosedive in the last five years, many people feel that journalism education hasn't changed fast enough to give graduates a shot at entering, and staying in, their chosen profession. Surveying 1,900+ professionals, the Poynter Institute found that more than half felt that journalism education wasn't keeping pace with changes in the industry.
When I listened to instructors from schools across the country at Journalism Interactive, what I heard was that for many of them, getting to consensus about changing a curriculum that took decades to build was a real slog. Journalists with decades of experience and Ph.D.s with serious scholarly work were, understandably, less than eager to do things that felt like minimizing the importance of skills they'd spent a lifetime acquiring to replace them with classes about entrepreneurship, programming, or data visualization.