25 Knight Chairs on Teaching Journalism in Digital Age

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In 1990, Knight Foundation started a Knight Chair in Journalism program, saying 'The purpose of a Knight Chair is to strengthen American journalism education by bolstering core curricular values and encouraging innovation ' to improve standards and effectiveness ' to assure a large number of journalists in the next century experience quality training.'

Today, news professionals at 22 universities help Knight achieve that mission by teaching innovative classes to thousands of students, developing groundbreaking programs and centers, and speaking out for quality journalism values.

Recently 17 of these endowed, tenured Knight Chairs met in Austin, Texas to discuss the state of journalism education, and to answer the following questions:' 'Is journalism education rising to the challenges of the digital age?' and 'Should students be taught not just to inform, but also to engage communities?'

Above: Knight Chairs and foundation staff meet in Austin, Texas.

On whether journalism education is rising to the challenges of the digital age, Knight Chairs were divided.

Here are excerpts of some of their comments:

  • 'Through greater collaborations with mainstream media and the new nonprofit investigative centers the academy will ensure that it stays current.' - Brant Houston, Illinois.
  • 'Journalism educators need to do much more to educate students about the challenges of changing technology and economic models in the digital age.' ' Jim Detjen, Michigan.
  • 'We must continue to be flexible and nimble while at the same time retaining the bedrock values that define journalism ' on any platform it appears.' - Malcolm Moran, Pennsylvania.
  • 'The journalism landscape is much different than it was five years ago, but most journalism schools are not.' - Rich Beckman, Miami.
  • They also discussed whether students should be taught not just to inform communities, but to engage them.' Here are a couple of their thoughts:
  • 'For the first time in the history of mass communication, the devices we use to receive the news are also able to distribute news, and to talk back. Passive audiences are increasingly being replaced by active networks of engaged people,' Rosental Alves, Texas.
  • 'Journalists should not be removed from their communities, but learn how to be a vital part of them with journalistic purpose ' which is to find and share the information those communities, writ small or large, need to know and govern themselves.' ' Jacqui Banaszynski, Missouri.

The group was joined by guest speakers Dan Gillmor, author and director of Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University, Evan Smith, Texas Tribune CEO and Editor, Roderick Hart, dean, UT Austin College of Communication, Glenn Frankel Director, University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism, Knight Foundation's CEO and President Alberto Ibarügen, and Knight Foundation Senior Advisor to the President Eric Newton.

More about the Knight Chairs in Journalism can be found on this website on the following pages:

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