Skills, Concepts, and J-School’s Delicate Balance

Jamie Cole

JN 562 Contemporary Issues Wm. David Sloan April 19, 2010

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It was the shot heard ’round the journalism world. And it was a college president who fired it. In 2002, Lee C. Bollinger, then the new president of Columbia University, suspended the search for a new dean of its Graduate School of Journalism—rejecting finalists already up for the job—and formed a task force to revamp the entire program.1 Bollinger’s shot rang loudly in the halls of the venerable school, which for decades emphasized teaching the “craft” of journalism—the skills needed to succeed in the practice.2 Bollinger, in a statement on the University’s web site, cited Joseph Pulitzer’s contributions to Columbia at the turn of the 20th century that helped establish its journalism program. At the turn of the 21st century, he said, the media were even more critical to society than in Pulitzer’s time. “And so it seems timely to review where we are and consider afresh how journalism education in a great university can contribute to the process by which the media adapt to a new world.”3 Pulitzer’s name wasn’t invoked lightly. Joseph Pulitzer isn’t just the patron saint of Columbia’s school of journalism; he also represents a school of thought on how journalism should be taught based on its role in society. While he believed journalism education should prepare its graduates for the workplace, that wasn’t his ultimate goal. The “chief end…was the welfare of the Republic. It will be the object of the college to

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Jaschick, Scott. “Columbia Rethinks Journalism Education” Inside Higher Ed, accessed online 15 February 2010 at http://www.insidehighered.com/layout/set/print/news/2005/ 03/28/journalism. 2 Babcock, William A. “The j-school debate.” Christian Science Monitor, 1 August 2002, 9. 3 Bollinger, Lee. “President Bollinger's Statement on the Future of Journalism Education.” Columbia News, accessed online 15 February 2010 at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/news/03/04/lcb_j_task_force.html.

3 make better journalists, who will make better newspapers, which will better serve the public.”4 Bollinger reflected that philosophy in calling for change at Columbia. “To teach the craft of journalism is a worthy goal,” he said in a memo to his colleagues, “but clearly insufficient in this new world and within the setting of a great university.”5 Bollinger’s bullet revived a debate as old as journalism education itself: Should journalism education be skills-based—writing, reporting, editing, the basics—or conceptbased—emphasizing academic coursework and theory? At one end of the spectrum are schools such as Columbia and Missouri, whose skills-based “professional masters” programs have strong reputations among practicing journalists. Examples at the other end are Stanford and Wisconsin, known for producing PhDs in communication.6 Bollinger also reframed the skills vs. theory debate for the new century. Reorienting the mission of Columbia’s j-school would mean theory and practice were no longer mutually exclusive, but carefully balanced: practical training alongside academically rigorous education.7 Not every school strives for that balance. The direction a school tilts between skills and theory is crucial, to everyone from the students to the educators to those in the media industry looking for new hires. In his article “On The Beat or In The Classroom” (2007), Stephen Cushion said transparency begins with the academy. “Students need to

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Sloan, Wm. David. Makers of the Media Mind. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1990, 8 Adam, G. Stuart, Jannette L. Dates, Theodore L. Glasser, and Mitchell Stephens. “Does Journalism Education Matter?” Journalism Studies 7 (2006): 144. 6 Babcock, “The j-school debate,” 9. 7 Kelley, Barbara. “Teaching Journalism.” Communication Research Trends 26 (2007): 4.

4 know if they are paying for an industry-preferred qualification or an academic degree.” Hot Topics.” rather than the technical skills favored more by traditional news outlets. “adaptive expertise. Serena. Goldstein had announced his goal was to “produce thoughtful journalists. . AEJMC web site. accessed online 31 January 2010 at http://aejmc. clearly delineating between skills and theory. survey after survey over the years finds employers complaining about the quality of writing from new j-school graduates.” he says. 65. the skills/concept debate lingers. “A J-School Manifesto. Which teaching strategy works best for the student and journalism at large? 8 9 Cushion. “On The Beat or In The Classroom?” Journalism Practice 1 (2007): 431 Stephens. Often a tilt towards theory sends news organizations reeling. September/October 2000. as well. A 2009 study of job postings for online news media showed these outlets are looking for a broad body of knowledge. 10 Carpenter.” and the letter from the news professional said.”9 Yet as new technologies emerge and the field continues to change. Stephen. that may be exactly what nontraditional news organizations want.8 The impact of a school’s tilt is felt in the field. “Nontraditional Online News Media Seek Employees with Adaptive Expertise.org/topics/2010/01/nontraditional-online-news-media-seek-employees-with-adaptiveexpertise/.” Columbia Journalism Review. in his piece “A J-School Manifesto” (2000). reflecting on a failure to master the skill set crucial to the “job” of journalism. Mitchell. recalls a letter the former Columbia dean Tom Goldstein once received from someone at a major news organization.10 So even considering the technique needed to confront multimedia convergence in the industry. “The last thing we need is thoughtful journalists. Mitchell Stephens.

“Controversies related to the problem of professionalization of journalism are…a valuable starting point. 34 12 Ibid. founding dean of University of Missouri’s j-school. Walter Williams.” Some at the school still refer to it as a “professional school of journalism. a 26-year professor at the school and author of Viva Journalism! The Triumph of Print in the Media Revolution.E. the training is not required for entry into the field as it is for medicine or law. or a craft. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. a set of skills analogous to those of a plumber or a carpenter? Is it both? Scholarly opinion mostly adheres to a strict definition of “profession.5 Origins of the Issue Trying to define journalism education is as difficult as finding a working definition of journalism itself. on a level with law and medicine.” wrote Slavko 11 Porter. Referring to journalism as a profession is a “public relations ploy to ascribe a certain qualitative status…I have never heard of a professional school of law or medicine. Viva Journalism! The Triumph of Print in the Media Revolution. however. cited in Splichal.’ the occupation of journalist is not a profession at all. Is journalism a profession.” as W. The International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 13 Merrill. Porter offered in The International Encyclopedia of Social Sciences (1968): “By the conventional definition of the word ‘profession. Merrill. 268.” he said. nor is there formal licensure as there is in those professions. 1994. John C. calls journalism a profession in his well-known “Journalist’s Creed. Lowenstein. 2010. Slavko and Colin Sparks.11 Porter points out that though its practitioners are trained in the university. 144 . W. 1968.E. between profession and craft is anything but meaningless regarding how journalism is taught in the academy.” he said in Viva Journalism!13 A distinction. called the descriptive term “professional” meaningless. Journalists for the 21st Century. Indiana: AuthorHouse.” John C.12 Those who see journalism as a profession argue its merits on prestige. and Ralph L.

The purpose of the school..16 Though Reid’s suggestions didn’t take hold at NYU.15 Journalist Whitelaw Reid of the New York Tribune offered his approval of journalism education in an 1872 lecture at New York University. who became president of Washington University (now Washington and Lee).17 The University of Missouri has the distinction of having the first officially established journalism school. combining liberal arts education with training in the school’s print shop. said Walter Williams. and practitioners in the field from then to now have offered mixed reviews of it as well. Robert E. education administrators have struggled to define journalism education. Lee. From the start. 3 16 Ibid. Makers…. and gets credit for what evolved into the modern skillsbased pedagogy. 6 17 Ibid. The program. His model curriculum included history. an experienced newspaperman who was named dean when the 14 15 Splichal. “(T)hey are clearly related to the questions of journalism education and training. focused on the technique of printing. was to train journalists for practice. The earliest college-level training was primarily skills-based.”14 Those controversies regarding the purpose of journalism training in the academy date back to its earliest establishments. first proposed scholarships for men who wanted a career in printing or journalism. 4 Sloan.. 7 . Sparks. Williams. Journalists…. economics and politics in addition to professional skills. philosophy. however.6 Splichal and Colin Sparks in their study Journalists for the 21st Century (1994). but with a theory-based slant. Cornell University’s president proposed something similar three years later. was dropped after two years.

more than a century before Bollinger proposed to reinvent it based on Pulitzer’s original vision. Isabel.. where theoretical research has helped establish such concepts as gatekeeping and agenda-setting. undergraduate journalism education remains essentially a nuts and bolts training course. said ‘‘no other profession has a more vital relation to the welfare of society or to the success of democratic government’’ than journalism.. He later became president of the University. 10 23 Ibid. schools follow the Missouri model. rather than the Pulitzer/Bleyer approach. the founding dean. Pulitzer’s idea to elevate journalism to an academic pursuit rather than a trade didn’t quite fit his reputation as a newsman. 16 .7 school was established in 1908.” Journalism Studies 7 (2006): 747 22 Sloan.22 Today.21 Bleyer deemphasized skills and instead wanted students to understand journalism’s role in a democratic society. “Teaching Journalists To Save The Profession. William Bleyer. He wanted his graduates to do more than get jobs. perhaps his high concept of journalism education was meant to make up for the part he played in yellow journalism. Makers…. 7 20 Ibid.23 18 19 Ibid. had only a high school education. when construction started on the building that would house the journalism school. 9 Ibid.. 8 21 MacDonald.. though his vision didn’t begin to see fruition until after his death in 1912. he wanted them to be scholars.18 Joseph Pulitzer helped invent Columbia’s journalism school beginning in the 1890s. the University of Wisconsin created a department of journalism with even loftier goals than those of Pulitzer.19 He tried twice to donate money to start the school. The biggest changes have come at the graduate level.20 That same year.

accessed online 18 March 2010 at http://www2.8 Accredited schools must work to achieve a balance between core journalism courses. and possessing skills learned only through experience—is the bedrock goal of the skills-based journalism school. many of them skills-based.SHTML 25 Lowrey.edu/~acejmc/PROGRAM/STANDARDS.24 And while the skills and theory debate has evolved over the last decade into an issue of balance—the question isn’t really “either/or”—there is still this consideration: How much of each? Teach More Skills Media employers—and employers in general—tend to favor candidates with skill sets specific to the job. practitioners have long complained that j-school graduates aren’t prepared for the workplace. Workplace readiness remains one of the loudest arguments for the Missouri model.ku. Basic Skills For Workplace Readiness In spite of the widespread adaptation of the skills-based Missouri model. 24 “ACEJMC Accrediting Standards. and the embodiment of the Missouri model. and a wider liberal arts education.25 No surprise there. trained in the latest technology. Pointed surveys of punchy print editors and broadcast news directors— decrying the perceived lack of basic journalism skills—led many educators to tip the scales to teaching skills. Becker. .” Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication... Producing a “marketable” graduate—one ready for the workplace. “The impact of technological skill.” 766.

The newspaper editors called on j-schools to increase the credit hours required in the program. Edwin O. said in the survey that he wouldn’t hire a j-school graduate unless he or she were “the offspring of my company president.” said one newspaper editor in Kentucky). “Frowns greet new J-grads in magazine job market." said John Fay. “Newspaper editors point to J-grad deficiencies. two separate surveys of print editors still described journalism graduates as poorly prepared—even “unhireable. after more than 75 years of the prevalence of the skills model.30 Editors were also asked in the survey to rate four curriculum designs: 26 Mills.27 The editor of Good Housekeeping. and Golf. Harvey of Brigham Young University found some magazine editors hiring English graduates rather than j-school graduates. and Leland B. along with a lack of self-editing prowess. 28 Ibid. Gordon. Harvey. 34 (1979). editorial director of the magazines Outdoor Life. and Harvey of BYU again revolved around basic journalism skills. and Warnick.”28 The main complaints about j-school grads in the study were poor grammar and spelling.” 12 . and Kenneth E. 3. proofread and rewrite..9 In 1979 and 1980. clarify. 30 Mills. one of the country’s top-circulating magazines.. and to attack the “grammar problem.”26 The 1979 survey of magazine editors by Edwin O. 29 Ibid.” Journalism Educator 35 (1980): 12 27 Haroldsen. punctuate. “Newspaper editors . Kenneth Harvey.. 29 The recommendations from newspaper editors in the 1980 study by Gordon Mills. Ski. Warnick. Leland B.” Journalism Educator.” which topped the list of editor complaints (graduates “can’t spell worth a damn” and “can’t or won’t open a dictionary. and likely were in response to the emergence of theory-rich mass communication programs in the 1970s.. Warnick. Haroldson and Kenneth E. Harvey. “The biggest single problem in magazine hiring today is finding young people who can spell.

Two years of newspaper training at a trade school. the American Society of Newspaper Journalists published a report that again emphasized basic skills. 4. option 4 rated last.10 1..33 31 32 Ibid. “Basic Journalism Skills Remain Important in Hiring. Although computer skills rose in importance compared to the 1990 ASNJ report. 13 “Shot Across The Masthead. cited in Pierce. Tamyra. and Tommy Miller. emphasizing liberal arts and limiting journalism credits to 25% of coursework. The advent of the Internet changed the face of journalism and forced journalism educators to re-evaluate what they are teaching their students.” Newspaper Research Journal 28 (2007): 51. A. A full university program. 33 Pierce. but convergence didn’t change the tenor of the skills argument very much at all.” Newspaper Research Journal 28 (2007): 59.31 The intervening years haven’t changed opinion much on workplace readiness. 2. In 1990.” The Bulletin of the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Tamyra. 3. “Basic Journalism Skills Remain Important in Hiring. September 1990. Not surprisingly. and some editors even admitted they were ready to try the trade school route. print editors still ranked basic skills above new media knowledge in a 2007 survey by Tamyra Pierce and Tommy Miller of California State University. said Pierce and Miller. and Tommy Miller. followed by a one-year apprenticeship. but with less general education and more journalism training. Two years of newspaper training. . The typical university journalism program. the basic skills of writing. spelling and grammar—along with “critical thinking”— all rated higher in the survey.32 And although the late 1990s and early years of the 21st century saw the emergence of new media technology.

skills-based vocational journalism program to the catalogue in 2008. “Vocation. 26 August 2008. a web editor and winner of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s Online Journalism Award.” as well. “What’s the value of doing journalism when everyone’s a journalist?” he says. says the “professional skills will be taught by practicing journalists.35 While practitioners say the basic skills remain important for workplace readiness. “Our BA in multimedia journalism gives students the chance to build a broader skill set. British journalism educator Stephen Cushion notes in his 2007 article “On The Beat or In the Classroom” that two-year vocational programs in broadcast journalism at the British Columbia Institute of Technology often come with a promise of employment. Before. “On The Beat…. Now.36 34 35 Cushion. they may not be enough in a competitive marketplace.K.” he says. Robert Niles. The program’s director. vocation. Sarah. vocation. former BBC radio journalist Kate Kavanagh. employing those basic journalism skills with regularity.org/ojr/people/robert/201002/1820/. namely analytical skills—“to make sense of datasets and find the stories buried within them. says the Internet has changed everyday communication forever. 36 Niles. there has been traction globally.34 Canterbury Christ Church University in the U. 427 Richardson.11 While a “trade school” model for journalism never caught on in the United States.ojr. . “Writing skill is no longer enough to sustain journalists. almost no one in everyday life wrote much outside the classroom. head of the school’s media department. added a three-year. everyone’s a writer. A new set of skills needs to emerge beyond the basics in journalism training.” OJR: The Online Journalism Review.” says David Bradshaw.” 422.” The Evening Standard. Robert. accessed online 20 February 2010 at http://www. 51. while the United Kingdom and Austria opt for apprentice-style training with little or no academic input.

Toughill. “I don’t think what we should do is be replicating courses you can take at the Learning Annex. Just deciding how much of which skills to teach is enough of a dilemma. “The most exciting career path of all will be the one taken by aspiring journalists who don't land a job at an established media outlet. A22. fundamental issue: How much of the skills do you teach? You can go to the Learning Annex and take a Flash course. “There’s this big. Nova Scotia.” Ari Goldman. j-schools in general are in uncharted and constantly churning waters when it comes to communication technology. Kelly. Columbia is of course not alone in this boat. .37 The Emergence of Convergence In light of demand from students and the marketplace for new media proficiency. Columbia’s skills-and-theory crisis gets even more granular.12 Analytical training. six years after his hiring in 2003. Columbia journalism school dean Nicholas Lemann has in still wrestling with this question. is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of King's College in Halifax.” says Kelly Toughill in an editorial for the Toronto Star. a former New York Times reporter and coordinator of the venerable “RW1” program (the school’s shorthand for its famed Reporting and Writing 1 37 Toughill. combined with basic skills.” he told New York magazine in March of 2009.” she says. even give journalism students an edge in workplace readiness beyond traditional media. “They are the ones who are going to figure out the business model and make it happen. “Why keep studying journalism?” The Toronto Star. 21 March 2009. a former Star journalist. huge.

40 A 2008 survey of online journalists by Shahira Fahmy. 39 Adam. 40 Johnson. In December 2008. but 9 in 10 said Web traffic was still on the rise. accessed online 15 February 2010 at http://nymag. media employment hit a new 15-year low—affected mostly by the slumping newspaper industry—but Internet media companies showed a 13. . only online media and search companies added staff at the end of 2008. “Columbia J-School’s Existential Crisis. helps explain the jump in jobs.” Advertising Age. nor can the constant need for revision in order to teach these ever-evolving skills.41 The Fahmy survey also asked online journalists to predict what skill sets would continue to emerge in importance over the next five years. established forms. calling new media education “playing with toys.” he says.” Newspaper Research Journal 29 (2008): 29. Shahira.html. et. how a video story for the web should be constructed.13 course and the ne plus ultra of skills-based pedagogy). Mitchell Stephens—in an essay for the 2006 Journalism Studies compilation “Does Journalism Education Matter?”—said new media skills can’t be taught as finished.. Erica. 41 Fahmy.com/daily/intel/2009/03/columbia_j-schools_existential. 12 January 2009: 18. it is absurd to pretend we already know—at this very early stage in its history—how a blog should be written. “Does Journalism Education Matter?” 152. Overwhelmingly—and 38 Orden. Bradley. Ready or not. “How Online Journalists Rank Importance of News Skills.al.”38 Still. a journalism professor at Southern Illinois University.39 “Certainly. was even more blunt.” New York Magazine. “Ad industry cut another 18.4% jump in jobs that year. as well—4 in 5 said their Web sites were profitable. That can lead to financial gain.700 jobs in December. the demand for graduates with new media skill sets is tangible and on the uptick. More than 8 in 10 of the respondents said circulation was steady or declining for their print component. the impact of the convergent newsroom on journalism education can’t be overstated.

Becker studied the impact of new media skills on jobfinding success in 2001.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 78 (2001): 766. “Copy editors are juggling design and Web duties.”46 42 43 Fahmy. Reporters often have to juggle blog-writing and Web story updates in addition to their typical plate of news reporting. Wilson.45 Journalists have to wear many hats nowadays. Not surprisingly. 34.”43 Wilson Lowrey and Lee B.. class sequence. Miller. we need to focus on delivering content in multiple formats and get away from the notion that we deal with a single deadline and the most important thing is what hits the driveway every morning. multimedia delivery. even when controlling for more traditional predictors such as grades. non-linear editing. it also means a coalescence of jobs and responsibilities. animation and Flash and podcasting. these skills were the strongest predictor of job-finding success for graduates seeking new media jobs.42 As one respondent noted: “As news and information companies.” 60.” 31. photo-imaging. 44 “Convergence” doesn’t just mean a coalescence of media. 755. 46 Pierce. capturing audio. especially in media organizations. web design and illustration software—was a significant predictor of job-finding success for journalism and mass communication graduates. Skill with “presentation” technology—defined by Lowrey and Becker as pagination. 45 Ibid.14 predictably—seven digital skills that reflect convergence journalism jobs ranked highly in importance: shooting photos and video. . internships and campus media activities. multimedia editing and production. Becker. “Basic Journalism Skills…. Journalism students need to learn to multi-task. “How Online Journalists…. “The impact of technological skill on job-finding success in the mass communication labor market. and Lee B.” said one editor who responded to the Pierce and Miller survey. 44 Lowrey. Ibid..

48 Ten years later.49 Students at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism can choose cross-platform. ED20. the immersion experience is called “Communication... New York University journalism professor Mitchell Stephens. audio. classroom time is spent on real-world projects for real-world consumption.15 Make Time For Experience Perhaps no group of students has a better opportunity to “learn by doing” than journalism students.” At the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism on Arizona State University’s Pheonix campus. 19 April 2009. 49 Stelter. Becker. The skills learned through experience are solid predictors of success. the campus radio station. etc. Stephens’ vision is gaining traction. . “A J-School Manifesto. experiential courses such as “Multimedia Storytelling. Students should learn skills by experimenting with a variety of storytelling techniques in the classroom.” At University of North Carolina. the departmental web site. video or digital—depending on what best tells the story. Business and Entrepreneurship.” 64.47 Some say the classroom itself should become the focal point for experience-based skill-building. The entire skill set can be put to work on any number of projects on almost any major university campus—at the student newspaper. An entrepreneurship course in the j- 47 48 Lowrey.” advocated experience through experimentation: We know… that we have to open up our introductory courses to serious alternative approaches. Success in the classroom alone—as Lowrey and Becker indicated—isn’t a solid predictor of success in the marketplace. Brian. advocating an even stronger vocational bent when compared to basic skills and an introduction to new media techniques. be it written word.” 756. “The impact of technological skill. Journalism and communication schools across the country are adopting “immersion” learning into the classroom. in his 2000 article “A J-School Manifesto. Stephens. “Digital Defeats Newsroom?” The New York Times.

graduating students prepared for the communication business. accessed online 21 September 2009 at http://www. certainly—but it’s beyond that. “Digital Defeats Newsroom?” ED20.” where students develop skills only experience can bring. After decades as a journalism educator. 52 Stelter. The school is a microcosm of the media industry.” says Dan Gillmor. agreed with him. . but the media industry’s demand for skill training in j-school graduates was strong and influential.51 The classroom has become the newsroom. he famously and controversially decried what he called the “professionalization” of journalism education in a bold address as president of the Association for Education in Journalism at the organization’s 1977 gathering. he knew.52 Teach More Concepts Jim Carey had seen enough.org/ojr/people/robert/200909/1780/. students must demand time and access to explore emerging forms.53 50 51 Ibid. Niles. Many in the audience. 53 Adam. The classroom project in the fall of 2008 was a web site for local film producers. in social media and whatever else they might dream up. G.” Cultural Studies 23 (2009): 159.16 school teaches students to “invent their own jobs. Stuart.” OJR: The Online Journalism Review. the instructor and a former San Jose Mercury News columnist.ojr. “Eight Things That Journalism Students Should Demand From Their Journalism Schools. or ready to go into business for themselves. “Jim Carey and the Problem of Journalism Education.50 “While traditional syllabi train students in established story forms. Robert.” Niles called the journalism classroom “a place to hack.” said Web guru Robert Niles in his 2009 article “Eight Things That Journalism Students Should Demand From Their Journalism Schools.

Though the idea still meets resistance from the industry. and Journalism Education. divorces journalism education from the wider university tradition. “journalistic” is a “dirty word. philosophy. suppressing the intellectual complexities of liberal arts such as literature. the Liberal Arts.” said Peter Parisi. Journalism has long been the poor cousin on campus. and events are defined by only 54 55 Ibid. Some of them even say it’s the only way journalism education can stay relevant. practical and narrow. . the Liberal Arts. in effect. Parisi. particularly as viewed by other scholars. and sociology. a professor of humanities and communication at Penn State-Harrisburg. Peter. a concepts-based approach to journalism education—emphasizing strong ties to the liberal arts and examining journalism’s role in culture and society—has its believers. Journalism holds objectivity as a central value.17 He confronted his fellow educators with examining “the inherent tension between the university tradition and the practice of journalism.” The critical thinking installed by a liberal arts education is neutralized by journalism training. “Critical Studies. calling for an education beyond job preparation. In scholarship. and Journalism Education.”54 Carey was taking up the mantle of William Bleyer. Vocational training. a tension that often puts us between a rock and a hard place.55 In contrast to vocation prep. Liberal Arts and the University Tradition Understanding Carey’s appeal to adhere to the “university tradition” requires an understanding of journalism education’s perceived place in the academy. say critics.” Journalism Educator 46 (1992): 4. in his 1992 article “Critical Studies. the liberal arts “educate” rather than “train.” Decades of skills-based pedagogy stigmatized journalism education as simple.

”56 The reliance only on sources for “truth” compounds the issue. et. 6. Serena. just “the five W’s and H. and specialized knowledge areas outside of communication and journalism fields.18 the measurable facts. truth is a social construct found through a wide body of knowledge. the truth isn’t out there.. if they expect to report on the courts. problem solving..al. Rodger Streitmatter was director of the print journalism program at The American University in Washington. The opportunities are there. “Does Journalism Education Matter?”148. “An application of the theory of expertise: Teaching broad and skill knowledge areas to prepare journalists for change.58 Students need that wider body of knowledge to perform well as journalists. they could head over to the law school and learn about the rules of evidence. if they want to write about the environment. openness to diversity. particularly in accredited programs where the majority of credit hours must come from wider liberal arts fields. perhaps even more so than a journalism degree. D. and they must go elsewhere on campus to find it. There’s no critical assessment. says Parisi.C. knowledge of multiple languages. they might take a course in political science. creativity. Ibid.. leadership. In 1984.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 43 (2009): 293. says Stanford University’s Theodore Glasser. 56 57 Ibid. it’s “an education in how not to think. Glasser makes it sound simple: If [journalism students] intend to cover government. they can study in the department of earth sciences. Serena Carpenter of Arizona State’s Cronkite School identified those wide knowledge areas as including the desire to address social problems. as well.59 There is evidence that a liberal arts education pays off vocationally. In the liberal arts. critical thinking.” Parisi says this is where journalism education loses its tie to the academy. 7 58 Carpenter. 59 Adam.57 Reviewing liberal arts literature. .

Of the 664 job postings.. More telling: “Stay away from journalism school. even for a specialized field of reporting? “All that’s needed is a good sense of curiosity and perhaps basic physics and biology courses. for that matter. and the general field has changed much since 1984. “An application of the theory…. 295.” said William Cook. “adaptive expertise. Why the liberal arts approach.” 294.” said Mark Jaffe of the Philadelphia Inquirer.60 Environmental journalism is but one example of specialization. 62 Ibid. 61 Carpenter. though.61 By comparison. Of 24 environmental journalists in his survey—representing the largest newspapers and TV outlets in the country at the time—only four had journalism degrees. He concluded that students who wanted to pursuer environmental journalism as a career shouldn’t major in journalism (or.62 60 Streitmatter.19 Environmental journalism had emerged as a “hot button” career path. less than 65% of the ads called for technical expertise.” reaffirmed the liberal arts payoff in the workplace. Roger. but should instead seek a wide liberal arts education. which were favored more by traditional news outlets. the Newsweek environmental correspondent who participated in the survey.” Journalism Educator 39 (1984): 40-43.” rather than technical skills. “Environment writers need liberal arts more than writing. and Streitmatter conducted a study of environmental journalists practicing in the field. almost 82% stated a preference for new employees to have broad knowledge. . natural science). Wouldn’t the convergent newsroom increase the demand for j-school graduates with new media skills? Carpenter’s 2009 study. Her content analysis of job postings for online news media showed these outlets are looking for a broad body of knowledge. “An application of the theory of expertise: Teaching broad and skill knowledge areas to prepare journalists for change.

.20 The Critical/Cultural Approach Advocates of a critical approach to journalism study say liberal arts courses still leave a gap between academic and vocational elements of a journalism program. The philosophical elements of journalism practice that inform the skill set—but are rarely discussed in textbooks or classrooms—include personalization. and fragmentation. 64 Skinner. “Critical Studies…. they need to know how their field contributes to society.D. “Educating for Journalism: the professionalism of scholarship. 65 Studies of communication theory and the ethics of journalism practice certainly fit into this approach. 65 Adam. but advocates say these already commonly studied concepts need to be placed into their own historical. “Does Journalism Education Matter?” 149. and philosophical dimensions. These concepts inform the choices reporters make in news writing and gathering.64 As Stanford’s Glasser said in his essay for “Does Journalism Education Matter”: A formal education in journalism matters and succeeds as it engenders among students a certain quality of thinking about journalism. cultural. Jim Carey once said journalism and 63 Reese. dramatization. . namely. and Jeremy Cohen.. S. Mike J. a state of preparedness that manifests itself in the eloquence students exhibit when called on to respond to questions about the value and purpose of what they do as journalists.” 8.66 This critical/cultural approach to journalism has its practical side.63 There is plenty of conceptual knowledge to be mined within journalism itself—enough to build an academic discipline.” Journalism Studies 1 (2000): 214.al. Gasher and James Compton. from how they decide what is “newsworthy” to how they “color” the stories that are deemed so. In fact. journalism’s role in a democratic society. et. David. “Putting theory to practice: A critical approach to journalism studies. 66 Parisi. bringing depth to journalism studies. Journalism students need not only broad knowledge.” Journalism 2 (2001): 342.

159. and Compton. students should discuss sourcing.” said Parisi. 163.70 In reporting classes. “Jim Carey…. Skinner.” but should change and inform the courses already in the catalog. “Training students in a better sort of journalism than they see in actual practice can enable them to suggest new story angles their busy editors will welcome.” 9.21 democracy and two words for the same thing. not just report on it.. even at the undergraduate level where skills-based training is the overwhelming norm. he believed. Carey felt both journalists and teachers of journalism have a moral responsibility to contribute to the public consciousness. This isn’t “an idle. “Critical Studies…. 69 Ibid. he worried this important journalistic role was being lost because of pressure from the profession.. and how journalists typically source a narrow spectrum of public officials and random “quotes from the street. Ibid. but to facilitate community-wide conversation and reflect on that conversation. in their 2001 article “Putting theory to practice: A critical 67 68 Adam.67 Carey believed journalists have a responsibility to not just report on the events in a community (“random events of the here and now”68). 71 Ibid. 10. Gasher. He said this kind of education couldn’t be taught in a series of “critical/cultural courses.” A discussion of the effect of attribution and sourcing on news stories might open students to new story ideas that will be appreciated later on the job. ivory-tower exercise. .” 163..”71 Proponents of the critical/cultural approach also warn of the consequence of failing to place journalism in its historical and cultural perspective. for instance. needs not just to be taught be instructors but ingrained in journalism students. 70 Parisi.69 Parisi saw practical application for the critical/cultural approach as well. This theory of journalism and democracy.

Besides that. welfare recipients. The findings led her to wonder: does journalism education get in the way of good journalism?74 72 73 Skinner.essay.html.” New York University Department of Journalism. even university professors. examined the backgrounds of journalism award winners from the previous ten years. Compton. But these ‘misrepresentations’ are also the product of the fact that they are ill equipped to reflect on their practice. stereotypes of Muslims. Zoned For Debate.22 approach to journalism studies. Gasher. 58 percent of journalists awarded Nieman Fellowships never studied journalism. feminists. It was a diverse group. .72 Students perpetuate these “misrepresentations” and other less-than-ideal practices because they too often learn by rote. Betty. Ibid. 51 percent of journalists awarded Knight Fellowships at Stanford University never studied journalism.1. native peoples.medsger.edu/pubzone/debate/forum. Betty Medsger. accessed online 14 February 2010 at http://journalism. 357.” point to stereotyping as one negative by-product of teaching “how” (skills) without the “why” (critical theory): (W)e need only think about the stereotypes we regularly encounter in the news media..73 The Question of Relevance In 2002. 74 Medsger. a former Washington Post reporter and chair of the Department of Journalism at San Francisco State University. “Putting theory to practice….… In part this is due to time and space constraints faced by journalists. In the face of these constraints they rely upon well-known narratives. not many had even come from “elite” liberal arts schools. professional athletes. 75 percent of broadcast journalists who won DuPont Awards never studied journalism. with a wide variety of educational backgrounds.nyu. “Getting Journalism Education Out Of The Way. The results surprised her: 59 percent of print journalists who won Pulitzer Prizes never studied journalism.” 352.

77 King. “We can race to keep up with teaching 75 76 Niles. we had to worry about blogs and then Twitter.76 Journalism schools can’t keep up. “The Challenge We Face Today.” The academy simply isn’t positioned to teach the skills in demand. Lana F. noted the continuing influence of the media industry on journalism education while emphasizing the relevance of democratic theory in an essay for the 2001 symposium “Journalism and Mass Communication Education at the Crossroads. edited audio and shot video for years.” said the report.23 The question of relevance has long haunted j-schools (and was exacerbated. yet again. in internships. or even in the privacy of their dorm rooms. Lowrey. Today. “They may have learned them in classes. he said. “The Challenge We Face Today.75 Even when Lowrey and Becker found that “presentation skills” were a good predictor of job-finding success in their 2001 study.org/ojr/people/robert/201002/1820/.org/topics/2010/03/the-challenge-we-face-today/. every new computer comes with the requisite tools on board. students come to journalism school having written blogs. “As soon as we got non-linear editing suites.77 So what is the academy positioned to do well? Some argue conceptual. by the Columbia flap in 2002). . “The impact of technological skill.” 767. While some point to new media technology as the future of journalism practice. that technology is democratized.ojr.. “Writing skill…. AEJMC web site.” http://www. Becker. it’s available to anyone. Elliot. “As soon as we could get course about Web design on the books.” Hot Topics.” said Elliot King of Loyola University-Maryland in a 2010 article. accessed online 18 March 2010 at http://aejmc. theorybased teaching is the only way journalism schools can stay relevant. we had to worry about mobile devices.. they admitted the study didn’t address where graduates actually learned those skills. a professor of communication at the University of North Dakota. cheaply. Rakow. in campus media activities.

“The theory side has created people who can think and take a problem and solve it..” Birmingham Post.” he told the Birmingham Post in 2006. 18. . Louisiana State University. Shahid. 21 August 2006. agreed: “Learning to think about the media is as important to undergraduates as mastering skills if they are to bring best practice to the unprecedented new opportunities that are arising. though. for example.”78 Later in the same symposium. Jeremy. “Symposium: Journalism and Mass Communication Education at the Crossroads.”79 Motives for theory and concepts-based education don’t have to be decommercialized. 79 Ibid. “Someone taking on one of our students for management of a small engineering company. “Why media studies has such a vital role to play. 6. 80 Naqvi. to discuss and decide. Lee Bollinger. For all the upheaval within Columbia’s j-school and the debates 78 Cohen. That may be how to create a radio show or a marketing strategy for public relations. wasn’t necessarily calling for a tilt in either direction. would find they have a lot of the skills they need. as his media studies graduates often land jobs in other fields. John Maxwell Hamilton. Philip Thickett of the University of Central England’s media department believes theory itself is a transferrable skill. He sees relevance of theory beyond the communication industry.24 these new skills. Dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication.”80 Strike A Balance Between Skills and Concepts One of the great ironies of the revival of the skills and theory divide in light of Columbia’s “crisis” was that its president.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 56 (2001): 14. to hear and be informed. the relevance extends to the marketplace. “or we can look for the enduring principles of service to the public's right and need to speak and be heard.” said Rakow.

economics and business. great figures. an intellectual ability to deal with new situations as working conditions shift over time (in other words. it has been practiced in education for fields as diverse as architecture. though not at the expense of its traditional.columbia.insidehighered. a understanding of how journalism developed. Bollinger outlined “certain basic capabilities” that a j-school must instill in its students: a foundational introduction to the skills of writing and reporting. management. social work. and 81 Bollinger.” http://www. a one-year M. a second year was added. In a statement on Columbia’s web site in 2004. There is much to reconcile—teaching methods. “President Bollinger's Statement…” http://www. no matter what the medium. seeing integration as the loftier goal. and a sense of the moral and ethical standards that guide journalism practice. students must learn to “think like a journalist”).com/layout/set/print/news/2005/ 03/28/journalism. 82 Jaschick. and the trends that are shaping it today. program.82 Some voices in journalism education.S.edu/cu/news/03/04/lcb_j_task_force. call for something beyond balance. . that draws on liberal arts and allows for specialization in areas such as government. its history. science. What he called for was balance. nursing.A.81 Columbia did revamp its journalism curriculum. “Columbia Rethinks…. Bollinger didn’t advocate a new theory-based paradigm to replace real-world journalism skills in the school. and an often indifferent media industry—but ideas abound. fastpaced technology.25 sparked nationwide. Problem-Based Learning Problem-based learning (PBL) is nothing new. Instead. skills-based M.html. teaching. though.

84 Ryle writes of knowledge developing in three stages. (1960).” while at the same time executing an actual news item. reporting and editing in journalism. gathering and evaluating information. Already the students are drawing from a wide body of knowledge and skill to solve the “problem. First. students encounter a “problem”—such as an incomplete piece of information that may be developed into a news story. which Lynette Sheridan Burns applied to journalism in her 2004 article. The key characteristic PBL hopes to instill is thinking in action.” or the ability to repeat procedures and skills. L. Can students emerge from j-school with that kind of intrinsic knowledge? Gilbert Ryle wrote about the ideas behind PBL in his 1960 work Dilemmas—and demonstrated how it bridges the gap between theory and practice.” 5. think writing. G. but the problem-solving is self-directed or group83 Burns. Stage two is “knowing how. After determining what more they need to know from a newsgathering perspective. the crucial intellectual process of identifying. “A reflective approach to teaching journalism.” Ryle’s first stage of knowledge is “knowing what. . “A reflective approach to teaching journalism. Dilemmas.85 PBL helps students reach stage three by working through a “reflective” model based on journalistic scenarios. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The teacher helps provide resources. such as its public interest and ethics implications.” This is the evidence of knowledge.26 mathematics.” Art Design & Communication in Higher Education 3 (2004): 5.” This is simply the ability to identify. they then discuss the larger implications of the story. 85 Ibid.S. “A reflective approach…. they just know what to do without thinking.83 Consider the experienced journalist whose actions on the job are so automatic and instinctive that they defy explanation. Stage three is “being able to do. as in recognizing the product of journalism. cited in Burns. 84 Ryle.

Ibid.27 oriented. effectively closing the skills and concepts divide. many new media programs are setting the standard for balance. new media programs believed they balance skills and concepts very well. the art form ceases to exist..86 PBL.” 12. then ask them to consider which media would best enable them to accomplish their goals. When applied to journalism.”87 Shannon Mattern. 241. but why they do it. describes it practically: Our production courses are framed so that they are not about “video production” or “ProTools” or “web design. PBL guides students to execute work while considering it critically in light of commercial and ethical concerns.” Professor Denise Bennett from University of Idaho said in 86 87 Burns. Edgar. Edward Huang found 68% of the faculty at U. 88 Huang. New Paradigm In spite of the challenges of keeping up with technology. but emphasizing the mere technique and operation of equipment often results in artistically and emotionally flat work.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 15 (2009): 245. helps students develop a process for understanding not just what they do. say advocates. 89 Ibid. we encourage our students to think first about what ‘communications problem’ they want to solve. of the media studies department at New York City’s The New School. These journalistic scenarios are often taken directly from “real-world” situations.89 “Without technology and equipment.S. Our students can select from many hybrid courses that combine theory and production in the classroom. “Teaching Button-Pushing versus Teaching Thinking. “A reflective approach…. .88 New Media. In his 2009 study “Teaching ButtonPushing Versus Teaching Thinking” for the journal Convergence. just like in the “real world.” Rather.

noted Charles Overby—Chairman and CEO of The Freedom Forum—who believes journalists should draw more on relevant communication research from journalism educators to help solve questions facing mainstream media. 92 Ibid.”90 How do these new media instructors achieve balance? Huang evaluated faculty teaching strategies and found the teaching of technical skills and thinking skills were integrated—taught one before the other or side by side—in 32% of the course offerings. the result would likely be more mutually beneficial than either side realizes. while media practitioners say some journalism schools don’t meet their needs with work-ready graduates. and peer reviews were among the other teaching ideas mentioned.” 747 . 93 MacDonald.91 Overall. Overby said in a 1999 editorial: [Those questions] cannot be answered solely by gut instincts or a committee of newsroom staffers who go on a retreat for a day or two. 242. extensive research. made up another 28% of faculty teaching strategies.. only about 12% said they believed they taught nothing more than skills.92 Practitioners and Professors Meet in the Middle Ironically.. while practitioners perceive a shift toward theory.93 If ever the twain shall meet. How did we get to the 90 91 Ibid. Self-critique. often exhibiting the characteristics of PBL. Projects.28 the Convergence article. “Teaching Journalists…. and 20% said they taught nothing more than theory. 241. Ibid. Often that influence is cited as a tilt toward skills. “You can teach monkeys to type Hamlet but that doesn’t make them Shakespeare. many journalism instructors bemoan the heavy influence of the industry on curriculum.

” As in professions such as law and medicine. “Educators. accessed online 14 February 2010 at http://www. “Symposium…. “Educating for Journalism…. From the outset.95 It was a risk worth taking when Columbia finally hired Nicholas Lemann as dean in 2003. 14 May 2003. theory at the academy can enrich practice in the industry.” he said in the symposium “Journalism and Mass Communication 94 Overby. J-schools have long called on those with practical experience in the field to teach and lead at the academy. Charles L. Cohen. need not “wish to know. Karen W. B6. rather than clients.freedomforum. if not most. . Lemann was a practitioner—a former New Yorker correspondent—who strove to bridge the divide between his vocation and his academic calling. say critics. “For generations now. news professionals don't consider … journalism schools a major source of information and long-term assistance to the news media?94 Often the flow of information moves in the opposite direction. “Driven By What He Wishes He’d Learned.” 227. is that you get neither the best scholars nor the best practitioner-teachers. 97 Ibid. “was me stumbling through life as a journalist and keeping an inner tally of things I wished I knew.” The New York Times. media professionals and professors have been intellectually disengaged from each other.96 “The primary driver here.org/templates/document. He never attended journalism school himself. Journalism professors Stephen Reese and Jeremy Cohen called for a “professionalization of scholarship” in a 2000 piece for Journalism Studies.”97 Journalists. 95 Cohen.” The Freedom Forum. say some educators. The risk. 96 Arenson.29 place where many.” Lemann told The New York Times in 2003.asp?documentID=6638.” 7. journalists can work together.98 John Maxwell Hamilton agrees. 98 Reese. saying media industries needed to be partners with academia. and before accepting the job had taught only one journalism course.

”99 Assessment: Both Sides Now Robert Niles’ point shouldn’t be lost on journalism educators: in the new media age. As for the “basic” skills often cited as most important—and lacking in recent graduates—by practitioners: are they really journalism skills. What elevates “everyday journalism” and the routine technical expertise described by Niles to a higher plane? The concepts must inform the skills. everyone is doing journalism in one form or another. While students need familiarity with the technology for execution of the ideal storytelling method. . The necessity of integration is what makes problem-based learning (PBL) such an attractive solution in the journalism curriculum. “Both sides need each other. they are not now. Just as learning how to navigate a word processor doesn’t make one a good writer. knowing every capability of video editing software doesn’t make one a producer.” “While the cost of these missed opportunities once may haven been tolerable. let us place John Maxwell Hamilton’s mantra—“Both sides need each other”—in the context of the skills/concepts debate. one with proper structure and 99 Cohen. or there is no difference between—for instance—the user-generated content on a newspaper web site and the newspaper content itself. educators can’t rely on teaching software proficiency and computer literacy alone.” 12. To remain relevant. or are they language arts? Shouldn’t a student—particularly one with a propensity for storytelling—emerge from high school with the ability to write a serviceable sentence. learning pagination software doesn’t make one a designer. the modern j-school has to produce graduates who do it better.30 Education at the Crossroads. “Symposium….” he continued. To that end.

A balanced. Too often this is where the typical journalism student ends formal education. combined with a wide liberal arts background—make for the “adaptive expertise” that is marketable in the media business. writing. no “bar” to pass. the undergraduate may have the skills for a job in the media business. editing—or that “the basics” must now include a modicum of technical expertise. While masters programs often do a very good job of introducing and instilling concepts. lest journalism educators spend an inordinate amount of time teaching remedial grammar rather than the more pertinent legal. but lack the depth that comes with a conceptual understanding of newsgathering. well-rounded education requires a time commitment from the student beyond those four years. ethical and social implications of high-level reportage.31 all the words spelled correctly? Perhaps journalism practitioners have it right when they require grammar and spelling exams to screen potential employees. there is very little incentive for a student to continue education beyond a fouryear degree. There is no requisite financial benefit. either. that’s not a bad idea for j-schools. but still be lacking the conceptual knowledge and cognitive depth for long-term success. Technically. and continues at the graduate . No one will deny the importance of learning the basics—reporting. If the academy is to commit to a “complete” education that begins at the undergraduate level with skills and problem-based learning. establishing blogs and launching web sites that rival established media in functionality and immediacy. no bestowing of professional credentials. the technological bar inches lower as more and more would-be journalists enter the fray. These. Meanwhile. with a four-year degree and an entry-level job that may or may not set him or her on a rewarding career path.

Law and medicine historically evolved this way.32 level with essential concepts. if for no other reason than to bring order out of the chaos of new media. Merrill believes that journalism will necessarily emerge as a licensed profession—rather than a “craft”—over the next few decades. well-rounded education. John C. they should emerge from graduate j-school with the same highly-valued professional credentials—thereby transforming an industry whose practitioners are too often scribes rather than scholars. . and if students are going to invest the time and effort for a balanced. then practitioners must respond in kind by placing real value on graduate degrees.

edu/cu/ news/03/04/lcb_j_task_force.” Christian Science Monitor.” The key. 1 August 2002. 9.” Students at his school will be “leaders in the profession” and should be trained in “analytic modes” rather than just reporting and writing. theory debate. His delayed appointment of a new dean in Columbia’s j-school and his call for changes in the school’s curriculum reinvigorated the skills vs. and Mitchell Stephens. 14 May 2003. In this analytical examination of the Jim Carey essay “A Plea for the University Tradition. accessed online 15 February 2010 at http://www. Nicholas Lemann—the dean of Columbia’s journalism school—says graduate study in journalism. and an understanding of journalism’s essential place in democracy. Stuart. Karen W. “President Bollinger's Statement on the Future of Journalism Education. Jannette L. The university president’s formal statement was published in 2003. Adam. “Driven By What He Wishes He’d Learned. The author of this opinion piece—the chair of the journalism department at California State University— says we need to frame the skills and theory debate in terms of “what journalism really is—a trade. arguing both for balance between skills and concepts. “The j-school debate.” Cultural Studies 23 (2009): 157-166. “Jim Carey and the Problem of Journalism Education. “Does Journalism Education Matter?” Journalism Studies 7 (2006): 144-156. . William A. especially at an Ivy League school. Lee. Babcock. Bollinger. In this collection of essays. allowing for more critical understanding of society. Dates. a craft. is in balance between vocational and academic studies. is “a different beast.html.” Columbia News. an immersion in the intellectual culture of the University.33 Suggested Readings Adam. Stuart.” the author concludes that Carey’s vision wasn’t to eliminate skillsbased education but to circumscribe it. Glasser. Arenson. a profession. various journalism educators present idea about the future of j-school education. Theodore L. he says. B6.” The New York Times.columbia. G. culture and the democratic process through liberal arts study. G.

“An application of the theory of expertise: Teaching broad and skill knowledge areas to prepare journalists for change. “On The Beat or In The Classroom?” Journalism Practice 1 (2007): 421-434. The author looks at journalism’s role as a trade or profession and the issue of workplace preparedness. Carpenter. Even online journalists rank “traditional” skills highly as hiring criteria. Stephen. Jeremy. Edgar.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 56 (2001): 4-27. This approach to theory-based teaching focuses on critical reflection as a crucial step in conjunction with “learn by doing” (skills). Huang. multimedia skills are growing in importance. L. “Symposium: Journalism and Mass Communication Education at the Crossroads. nine communication educators examine the state of journalism education.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 43 (2009): 287-304.” rather than technical skills. Still. and concludes institutions need to be transparent about whether they are offering academic study or “industry-preferred qualification. Serena. “A reflective approach to teaching journalism. At the beginning of the new century.” Newspaper Research Journal 29 (2008): 23-39. Cushion. The author’s study findings support Columbia University president Lee Bollinger’s insistence . Shahira.S. “How Online Journalists Rank Importance of News Skills. Many emphasize the “synthesis” between skills and broader education.” Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 15 (2009): 233-247. Cohen. which were favored more by traditional news outlets. A 2009 study of job postings for online news media showed these outlets are looking for a broad body of knowledge.34 Burns. “adaptive expertise.” Fahmy. “Teaching Button-Pushing versus Teaching Thinking.” Art Design & Communication in Higher Education 3 (2004): 5-16. underlining the importance of skills-based teaching.

Isabel.” Journalism Studies 7 (2006): 745-764. Lowrey. The authors find that proficiency with “presentation” skills—pagination. Betty.essay. photo-imaging. especially from the media industry. 26 October 2004. web design and illustration software—is a significant predictor of job-finding success for j-school graduates. Kelley. “Getting Journalism Education Out Of The Way.35 that a “truly educated” new media graduate must have both technological skills and critical thinking skills. 12. Teresa. Medsger.” New York University Department of Journalism. Becker.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 78 (2001): 754-770.nyu. The masters program would focus on the professional journalist. MacDonald. “Journalism students ask: ‘Why am I here?’” Christian Science Monitor.” Communication Research Trends 26 (2007): 325. calls for an intense “senior year” introduction to journalism for skills education. This journalism educator argues that the last decade has seen a shift from the skills vs. The author. This allows students who want to practice journalism a more “interdisciplinary” approach to learning with journalism faculty as the gateway to the rest of the University. who wants to draw on University resources to solve specific problems. “Teaching Journalists To Save The Profession.html. Though the author agrees with the critical theory approach to teaching journalism. “The impact of technological skill on job-finding success in the mass communication labor market. “Teaching Journalism. theory debate to a more nuanced and balanced approach. Barbara. Recent graduates are interviewed about their experiences in . already in the field.medsger. she says it is likely to meet significant resistance. Mendez. non-linear editing. a reporter turned educator. and Lee B. while noting the new game for journalism education is finding the right balance. Zoned For Debate. accessed online 14 February 2010 at http://journalism. Wilson.1.edu/pubzone/debate/forum.

journalism will become a certified profession. the author advocates a different skill set—such as statistics training for analyzing data sets—and says the era of journalist as “mere scribe” is over. theory debate by famed instructor Ari Goldman. Merrill. Erica. “Columbia J-School’s Existential Crisis.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/200909/1780/. who characterizes new media skills as “playing with toys” and “an experimentation in gadgetry. Indiana: AuthorHouse. John C. “Eight Things That Journalism Students Should Demand From Their Journalism Schools.” OJR: The Online Journalism Review.ojr.org/ojr/people/robert/201002/1820/. 2010. accessed online 15 February 2010 at http://nymag. Niles. “Writing skill is no longer enough to sustain journalists. if for no other reason than to bring order out of the information chaos. Robert.36 journalism school. Robert. accessed online 21 September 2009 at http://www. concluding “real-world experience” is better than a graduate track in the field. Orden. and Ralph L.” New York Magazine.com/daily/intel/2009/03/columbia_jschools_existential. Includes a rather candid assessment of journalism education within the skills vs. Viva Journalism! The Triumph of Print in the Media Revolution.” OJR: The Online Journalism Review. Lowenstein. The authors make predictions about where j-schools and journalism in general are heading.” . and say that as technology continues to evolve. The venerable magazine provides a somewhat raw look at the changes at Columbia’s journalism school. This article also mentions Columbia’s j-school crisis and the decision to add a second year of graduate study focused on specialization to its venerable journalism program. While superlative writing skills will always be marketable. accessed online 20 February 2010 at http://www.html. The author argues j-schools should provide students with a broad range of mentoring and experience outside the classroom and even outside the field. Niles.

Michael. The author. Tamyra. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. “Critical Studies. “Balancing Arts and Sciences. David.asp?documentID=6638. Peter.” Newspaper Research Journal 28 (2007): 51-61. The authors examine modern attitudes towards journalism and find there are no objective criteria to place journalism in the same “professional” . “Educators. This research looks at the history of the skills and theory debate in journalism education and asks jschool administrators to evaluate their curricula and its balance between the two concepts. New Jersey: Ablex Publishing Corporation. This recent survey of newspaper editors places a heavy emphasis on “old-school” skills and also ranked some law and theory concepts above computer-assisted and web-based skills. Charles L. CEO of the Freedom Forum. Sloan. journalists can work together. the Liberal Arts. Makers of the Media Mind.37 Overby. Splichal. 1990. Slavko and Colin Sparks. “Basic Journalism Skills Remain Important in Hiring. The author lends historical perspective to the debate on how to teach journalism. and Tommy Miller. Ryan.” The Freedom Forum. Pierce.freedomforum. 1994. Wm. explaining the differences between the Missouri model and the PulitzerBleyer philosophy and noting that more schools have adopted the skills-based Missouri model. and Les Switzer. accessed online 14 February 2010 at http://www.org/templates/document. and Conceptual Content.” Journalism Educator 46 (1992): 4-13. Skills. Journalists for the 21st Century. This author advocates using critical and cultural perspectives to link journalism education more firmly to the liberal arts. and Journalism Education. seeing journalism less as a stenographic “craft” but adopting a more literary approach. Parisi.” Journalism & Mass Communication Educator 56 (2001): 55-68. calls for more open discussion in the skills and theory debate between professional and academic ranks.

“Digital Defeats Newsroom?” The New York Times. This journalism educator says j-schools place too much emphasis on the basics. ED20. 63-65. Skills-based journalism education. “A J-School Manifesto. 19 April 2009. especially curricula designed for workplace readiness. Stelter. Mitchell. and that controversies related to professionalization in journalism are clearly related to questions of journalism education and training. and not enough on experimentation or intellectual challenge. Brian.38 ranks as doctors and lawyers. Stephens. September/October 2000.” Columbia Journalism Review. . must be in a constant state of revision.