Fighting a Losing Battle? - The Future of Journalism Education

Friday, September 9, 2011

With all the advances in technology these days, you would think that the rapidly-changing world of Journalism would be thriving. Information is more readily accessible. It is easier than ever to find sources to interview. There are a multitude of tools available to make organization and the creation of stories simple.

But there are colleges that are closing the door on their Journalism programs.

Earlier this year, the University of Iowa was informed that two of its journalism programs were not meeting accreditation standards. One of the key reasons for this, highlighted in an article from the Des Moines Register, was low enrollment rates. As a result, the University of Iowa plans to stop taking applications for its professional master's program.

Also taking place earlier this year, the University of Colorado in Boulder voted to close its School of Journalism and Mass Communication. The school failed to fulfill its research mission, which consisted of:

-- competing with other campus colleges and departments for resources, for scholars and -- most importantly -- for a unique niche in the university community.

These closings could create concern among other colleges and universities across the nation. Where does journalism and mass communication go from here? The first step needed is to attempt to define a field that is constantly changing and evolving with today's technology. This could prove to be difficult because the students of today may be learning the job using what will become the tools of yesterday.

Jan Lauren Boyles, an American University doctoral student, wrote a guest blog about the evolving nature of journalism education. In this she presents the conflict taking place among journalism faculty about how to define journalism and how to proceed to teach it.

This leads us all to wonder: what will come next? Is journalism doomed to slowly dissipate from the education world, standing aside for the popular degrees in business and medical fields? Or will it find its niche among the decay going on around it?

I personally hold onto the ray of hope that it will weather the storm. Just like online journalism is offsetting some of the loss of traditional journalism, I think the educational platform for journalism will find a way to compensate as we progress into the future.


Megan Evans September 12, 2011 at 12:04 PM  

One of the articles I just read shined some light on this topic. It spoke about the possibility of transitioning reporters and journalist into the highly saturated social media world, and the companies that run it. This would be a way to preserve the field. Regardless of where the future is headed with information exchanges and technological advancements, there will always be a need for quality delivery of the news. Without programs teaching that, even if enrollment is a bit lower, who will the next generations be able to look to in order to have a solid foundation when it comes to reporting? I as well hope that it is not a permanent trend.

LogannRoberts September 12, 2011 at 11:48 PM  

I agree that I hope this is not a permanent trend. I think a lot of schools and programs will transition into a more "multimedia" program where they teach future journalists how to use all mediums of the media. I think the reason enrollment is slightly over is because students who are interested in writing are discouraged by the decline of print media, but soon other media outlets will become more concrete and maybe spark some new interests.

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