Friday, May 27, 2005

Changing journalism education

I applaud any move to improve journalism. As I've said more times than I can remember, this is an exciting and challenging time in our business. There are new ways to distribute content. New styles of writing have emerged for the post-objectivity world.
Change is here. Journalism must adapt.
But I tend to doubt that much good will come from the announcement that a group of journalism schools is going to spend $6 million "to elevate the standing of journalism in academia and find ways to prepare journalists better."
By my way of thinking, the core problem in journalism is an arrogant attachment to the elitist ways of the past. So bringing together a bunch of elitist schools -- Harvard, Columbia, etc. -- is probably not the best way to foster change.
I'm far more interested in what's happening at my alma mater at the University of Missouri than I am in what the media elite in New York and Cambridge think. Why isn't the University of Kansas, which has the advantage of being based in Lawrence, part of this project? How about the University of South Carolina? Or smaller schools such as Northwest Missouri State (where I serve on an advisory board.) Heck, if you have to include a school from New York, why not go with NYU, which has at least one leading thinker on staff?

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