Keeping up with the digital Joneses

Sometimes it’s hard to get anything done. You think you’ve turned a corner and, like the Tour de France, the next incline is steeper and the pelleton has disappeared up the fuck&n mountain.

It’s like that in my neck of the digital woods too. For every step we take, there’s the awkward rhythm of an accompanying backward shuffle. Now it seems we’re all too far behind the convergence fusbal to even attempt a behind (AFL speak for non-Australians).

I’ve just (how remiss of me) come across yet another online journalism site that offers groovy apps and swingeing critiques of journalism education.

What’s a professor2du?

It seems we have to keep up with the digital Joneses, or risk becoming dinosaurs before our time.

The debate (which I’ve referenced in the past) doesn’t stop – it’s 24/7 here, so if you can’t take the heat, jump off the hob. It’s sometimes hard to keep up – what with an analogue as well as a digital life – but here at Ethical Martini, we do my best. I link as I can, read what I can’t avoid and jump in here to respond as time allows.

With that in mind, what do you make of this:

Jo Geary at the Birmingham Post says “students now shouldn’t be educated for media organisations as [they] exist now” and that they should also be made aware that newspapers are not what they think they are. My experience with students supports this: they tend to come onto the degree with a rather outdated, ‘monomedium’ view of working in journalism.

Speaking for my own little patch, way down in the Pacific ocean, this is not what we’re attempting to do. We believe in convergence and are trying to walk the talk. Problem is this takes time, effort and resources.

Should journalism degrees still prepare students for an industry that doesn’t want them?

Time for r/evolution of the journalism curriculum?

These are huge and provocative questions. I’m not so sure that our graduates are not wanted. It varies from place to place, but in general the old media is not yet dead. It is slowly adapting and, yes there will be casualties. But at the moment, “entrepreneurial skills” are not the same as good, effective journalism.

Would we be better off if we told our students “Go away, get a degree in earth sciences and start a blog.” Not in my view. Journalism is still too important.

Journalism, change and the curriculum

The new journalism curriculum

If we must teach shorthand, what are we not teaching?

The point is, the debate is not settled and blanket statements to the contrary don’t alter this fact.

We are not dinosaurs, we are trying to be innovative. OK, so we’re still on YouTube, not Seesmic and we don’t Twitter as much as some,  but there’ also an argument that having the latest toys is not as important as having the intellectual grunt.

We went in search of an answer to this question. Our first stop was the semi-integrated newsroom at the New Zealand Herald. OK, it’s not the New York Times, but, warts and all, it’s a market leader in this, my island home.

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