Saturday, March 28, 2009

meanwhile ...

... I came across this piece on journalism education by Dan Gilmor, director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship and Kauffman Professor of Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University's Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication.

Writing on PBS' MediaShift, Gilmor finds that journalism education needs to educate both the practioner as well as the consumer, and to teach principles as the foundation -- and practice as an "evolving superstructure," in an increasingly digital world.

The Cronkite School, where I'm teaching, is one of many journalism programs aiming to be part of the 21st Century. The school understands at its core that digital technology has transformed the practice, though we hope not the principles, of the craft. This is welcome, if overdue; if newspapers have adapted fitfully to the collision of technology and media, journalism schools as a group may have been even slower.

But that recognition, while valuable, isn't nearly enough. Journalism educators should be in the vanguard of an absolutely essential shift for society at large: helping our students, and people in our larger communities, to navigate and manage the myriad information streams of a media-saturated world.

We need to help them understand why they need to become activists as consumers -- by taking more responsibility for the quality of what they consume, in large part by becoming more critical thinkers. And they need to understand their emerging role as creators of media.

In both cases, as consumers and creators, we start with principles.

For media consumers:

• Be Skeptical
• Exercise Judgement
• Open Your Mind
• Keep Asking Questions
• Learn Media Techniques

For media creators (after incorporating the above):

• Be Thorough
• Get it Right
• Insist on Fairness
• Think Independently
• Be Transparent, Demand Transparency

The principles underpin everything I believe about modern media consumption in general -- entertainment being the major exception -- and journalism in particular. Especially for the creators of media, they add up to being honorable.

If the principles are the foundation, the practices and tactics are an evolving superstructure. Journalism education needs to deal with both.

1 comment:

geewhy said...

Wow, he really went out on a limb with those earth-shattering principles. I'm sure those concepts never dawned on your average reporter or consumer.