Recent Thoughts on CU’s Journalism SchoolPosted on February 25th, 2011 No comments
I haven’t had time to share updates on CU journalism school closure / reinvention lately, and will do so more next week. But in light of recent events, and as a member of the advisory board that originally recommended discontinuance, I want to repeat that I’m still in favor of its closure in concert with a new campus-wide strategy of journalism education and digital media training.
Renovation from within at CU’s J-school has been tried and failed too many times. I believe this is true of many journalism programs, not just CU’s. It’s time for a fresh start, and I think we owe that to both current and future college students. This is a difficult thing to say as an alum of the J-school from 15 years ago who has good friends there, but it’s the sad truth.
I encourage everyone to look at this as an opportunity for reinvention, almost like a flower that has reached the end of its useful life. Rather than let it rot in the grass, only to be mowed over or composted, we should blow its seeds across the field so that other flowers can bloom and benefit from the DNA that made that first flower so beautiful. Without that past history, others who meet the critical needs that were once only fulfilled by journalists will have to re-learn their hard lessons from the ground up.
This is particularly important given how media works in the digital age. For our Democratic society to continue to function, we now need everyone — not just those admitted to journalism schools — to receive adequate training around the values of truth, accuracy, fairness and first amendment rights. The fact is that any blogger or even Facebook user can now reach as many or more people as a trained journalist in a newspaper or at a TV station could in the past.
It’s important to look at “journalism” through this wider prism, and not just through the lens of the news industries that developed before the age of social media. Rather than training journalists for a trade that has only three or four logical career paths, we should be training everyone to be responsible communicators regardless of industry or media form.