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    Journalism Grads Need Basic Skills Plus Openness, Flexibility

    by Alfred Hermida
    September 15, 2008
    Alfred Hermida

    At journalism schools, professors like myself are trying to figure out what we should be teaching students so they can succeed in the newsrooms of today and tomorrow.

    At the recent Online News Association annual conference in Washington DC, I posed that question to some of the brightest minds in the media, from editors to professors to entrepreneurs.

    The advice for graduates was that they need journalism plus a new set of skills. The basics of journalism — curiosity, passion, accuracy, serving the public interest — were still important. But journalist students also need to learn about how the digital revolution has changed, and continues to change, the media.

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    This involves understanding how people are consuming media and how content flows online, as well as being aware of the importance of community and the conversation taking place online. Teaching journalism has become “journalism…plus” as Robert Scoble says below.

    Here is what folks at the ONA had to say in a series of video interviews I made with my Nokia N95 cell phone:

    Jim Brady, executive editor of WashingtonPost.com:

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    Peter Horrocks, head of the BBC’s multimedia newsroom:

    Geneva Overholser, director of the School of Journalism at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication:

    Rosental Alves, director of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas in Austin:

    Len Brody, CEO and co-founder of NowPublic.com:

    Robert Scoble, prominent blogger and managing director of Fast Company TV, a business video network:

    What do you think? What skills do you think are important for journalism graduates to have? How much of their skills should be with new media as well as old? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Alfred Hermida is an online news pioneer and journalism educator. He is an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Journalism, the University of British Columbia, where he leads the integrated journalism program. He was a founding news editor of the BBC News website. He blogs at Reportr.net.

    Tagged: education journalism skills teaching technology
    • Cyndi

      I often wounder what/why my son didn’t like school. I was not happy with the school system my 2 boys were attending. they were on the block scheduling, which means. They take 4 class one half of the year and 4 more the 2nd half of the year. Eight class which should be streached out over a school year is now being condenced into learning the same amount of info in half the time. Plus the classes last one hour and 30 to 45 minutes. Afer having most of our schools starting earlier and earlier.

      My family is on both sides I have one son who learns at faster pace. And one son who was being left behind.

      Socity is so focused on teaching to pass a test that I must say; ” if I had to take it when I was in school to pass I would not have made it very far.” Too piggen hold all student to one test is unfair.
      though my one son was so post to have received more time to finish those test he was often not given it and than would have to retake the test until he did finnaly pass.

      One of the most importent things, in my oppion, learnt in school was not what was taught in a class room. But the socialization kids often dont get these day’s unless part of a team sport.

      I had one counseler tell me due to my son skipping school, I would be taken to court, yet in the same breath she turned and look at my son and said, “You can quit when you are 16, until than you have to come to school.”
      I was furious, I told her and him NO he can not quit at any time. That was unexcusable behavour/commit coming from any school offical.

      We have since moved to another state. That offers 7 classes taught over the course of the school year and both of my children are liking it better. My oldest said, “it’s much easier to sit in class for the shortend time.” That time is about an hour less.

      We need to focus less on standardised test, and more on what is being taugh. Let’s face it times have changed to a technological world and we are all playing catch up. We are failing our children by holding them to what clearly is out dated and does not work.

      Math, Technology, Science is what skills we are lacking, yet no one wants to invest the money to bring our schools upto date.

      It is left to each state and than the money trickles down by the time it gets to the outer smaller school, the kids pay the price for the funding should be divided equilly thought the county not foucused to one school or the other.
      If one school has a program than a new on should be sent out to all the school, instead of add all programs to one and leaving the others behind.

      Rich or poor all schools have the same acess to knowledge and resoarces needed to make our kids and this country stronger for the future.

      feed up mom wanting better for her children and the future children. For challenging our kids to think for themself is what will take them and this country to them next level that has and still is a long way in the making.

      Thank all for listening to my point of view.

    • best post ever.

      Awesome quick videos. Loved it.

    • As a recent journalism graduate from the University of Cincinnati, I have to agree entirely that J-students need to be informed on new media and the digital age. But, it’s important not to stray from the fundamentals at the same time. Though our program at UC was still young, professors made sure to educate students on the new forms of journalism. I wish I had more time to delve into blogging, podcasting and even shooting video. Through internships I’ve seen that a lot of this extra interactive material is what news organizations desire for their Web pages. It isn’t just gathering the story anymore.

      I think this post was great. It reminds the new grads that this is a reality while keeping the more conventional journalists in the loop on where our field is going. Kudos for all the helpful interviews!

    • Great to see this being discussed. The R&D / practitioner divide needs to disappear.

    • Sarah Newcomb

      These comments made within the videos featured on this page I feel are very relevent to what people must do to keep up with the times and the pace of the public as the way that we hear information and news is constantly changing. You cannot just be a great writer or have an outstanding sense of intuition as to what the public wants to hear, but also the sense of how to get it to the public eye in the first place. I aspire to be a journalist and to learn all of the basics but also the marketing aspect of the career. It is so important to make sure you can put yourself out there and make your voice be heard in a career like this one and I am exited to jump into this world I have been so long awaiting.

    • Andy B @ UQ

      We are looking at this web page fora journalism subject, has anyone else checked it out yet?
      Andy @ UQ

    • cheap bags

      These comments made within the videos featured on this page I feel are very relevent to what people must do to keep up with the times and the pace of the public as the way that we hear information and news is constantly changing. You cannot just be a great writer or have an outstanding sense of intuition as to what the public wants to hear, but also the sense of how to get it to the public eye in the first place. I aspire to be a journalist and to learn all of the basics but also the marketing aspect of the career. It is so important to make sure you can put yourself out there and make your voice be heard in a career like this one and I am exited to jump into this world I have been so long awaiting.

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