Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Note to journalism schools: give us new heroes

[Keyword: , . Martin Stabe may well be able to add curriculum design to his CV after his latest post, which bemoans the fact that journalism students still seem to be unaware that the 'print-only hack' is not a viable career option any more. "Teach some new heroes," suggests:

"You know, the people out there doing impressive stuff with new technologies right now. The war reporters traveling the world doing solo multimedia reporting; the investigative reporters using sophisticated software to take on the CIA, the laid-off print hacks going it alone to build successful online publications, the people bringing software development skills into journalism.

"Need a recent journalism film to dislodge Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford? Try Shattered Glass — a story where the fraudulent titular hack is found out by an online journalist. The hero there is Adam Penenberg, then of Forbes.com. A key part of the story is Penenberg’s scepticism about the phoney website the technologically-unsophisticated Glass had set up to disguise his made-up stories for the New Republic, er, magazine."

I'll certainly be passing on these examples in my Online Journalism module this coming semester, as well as suggesting that we communicate these career options during Induction Week (the first week of a student's university course).

And as I happen to be speaking at the Association of Journalism Educators conference this Friday on a very similar subject, the timing of Stabe's post couldn't be better. Bring on the new breed of journalists!

PS: Mindy McAdams once had some similar thoughts at her blog.
PPS: Looks like this is a hot topic, with Andrew-Grant Adamson posting on the same topic here.


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Paul Bradshaw lectures on the Journalism degree at UCE Birmingham media department. He writes a number of blogs including the Online Journalism Blog, Interactive PR and Web and New Media

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