C.W. Anderson posted a version of a talk he gave recently on the future of j-schools. While I don’t necessarily agree with every point, this is a person I could have a reasonable discussion with–unlike the boobery of the kill-j-school-now crowd. A brief excerpt of his argument:
A paradox of the current media moment is that, while journalism jobs are disappearing, j-school enrollment is up? Why? I believe its because people are curious about the media, practically oriented, and fundamentally want to both understand and contribute meaningfully to the world around them. Over the next decade, fewer people may become “journalists” than ever before, but more people than ever will commit “acts of journalism.” To thrive, j-school must understand this and embrace it. Journalism school will stay relevant by training students to produce publicly meaningful content in a world of rampant media making, DIY content, and fragmentation.
Anderson gives some of his talk over to the differences between grad school in journalism and undergrad journalism. He suggests turning the basic reporting and writing class (RW1, at Columbia) into a required course for all incoming freshmen, not for journalism master’s students. Not a terrible idea, though I think for most of those undergrads, a media consumption course would be much more important than a media production course. Or just give them all a copy of my favorite book.