Journalism Schools Adapting to Changing Times

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In this fast changing world of journalism, editors and reporters have to adapt with the times. The same thing goes for journalism schools.

With the industry changing and embracing more personal forms of journalism, not to mention shifting from print to Web, journalism schools are changing their curriculum as well. J-schools are putting more emphasis on the new media and opinion journalism.

"Journalism should have a greater ambition than simply reporting facts without analysis or context," Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, wrote in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Journalism schools are thriving in this world even though the news industry is shrinking. The question is, how are they changing to accommodate this financially struggling field?

Susanne Shaw, a professor of journalism at the University of Kansas, says the numerous changes in the journalism industry are causing many schools to consider changing their curriculum. She thinks the focus is more on multimedia including Web-based video and audio.

"Most schools, I think, are trying to include courses to prepare students to do it all," Shaw says.

The nation's first J-school, University of Missouri School of Journalism, is considering a new curriculum track dedicated to opinion and advocacy journalism. Students need these skills in order to have the flexibility to go down any journalistic path they choose.

According to the Annual Survey of Journalism and Mass Communications Graduates, the percentage of journalism graduates writing and editing for the Web increased by 35 percent from 2006 to 2007. This nearly tripled from 2004 to 2007. Overall, about 56 percent of J-school grad were doing Web editing and writing.

For all you journalism majors out there, you may have to think twice about which J-schools to attend. You need to make sure you have the necessary skills to prepare yourself out there for the real world.

Photo Credit: Creative Commons


Amanda Hintgen February 2, 2011 at 11:28 AM  

I think this article is a good one for our BNR class because we are learning new skills, such as Tweeting, that schools in the past would have never taught.

Morgan Fleener February 7, 2011 at 6:04 PM  

This article provides the positives of the requirements for our BNR class. Online resources work well because they give us news instantly and provides more news to the public all at once. Do you think more schools in the area will turn to social media today? It will be interesting to see what happens with high school writing classes in the next few years. Maybe they will be turning to Twitter accounts just like us, if they haven't even already.

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