Posted on May 21, 2011
Is it stupid to major in journalism?
A funny thing about writing a blog for a long time is that sometimes you want to write a post … and you discover that you have already written it.
My original post (from two years ago) seems to be just as valid today: Why does anyone major in journalism?
So I read it and thought about whether there’s anything new to say. Yes. As the news industry continues to evolve, there are some new questions that should be asked:
- Should the journalism curriculum include a required class about entrepreneurialism? That is, should students be required to study startup companies in the journalism field? Should they be required to pitch ideas for viable new enterprises as part of their coursework?
- Should journalism students have the option to take courses centered on advocacy communications — the kind of writing, Web and mobile communications, video, etc., that are done by nonprofits and NGOs? I’m not talking about a traditional public relations course but rather something focused on nonpartisan issue-centered communications. Maybe it’s public interest communications; maybe it’s broader than that.
- Can social media be used in classes to teach students how to identify and sound out audiences — so they know whether they are serving an audience well?
I still think it’s a smart move to major in journalism — if you have a real desire to communicate with audiences.
But I think we have some work to do to keep journalism education relevant. Nowadays that work needs to go further than just teaching kids how to report accurately and tell stories well. It goes beyond writing and beyond tools. I think there’s a whole set of thinking skills and idea generation and brainstorming that needs to become a part of the core curriculum.