Friday, April 10, 2009

j school bloggerel

J School enrollment is soaring these days and Sarah Lacy wants to know why the hell it is. Read her pissy post from Tech Crunch here. Be sure to read the comments and blog pimps, too.

From the post:
Journalism schools are like foot-binding. They force you into a style that a bunch of dinosaurs all agreed was acceptable a zillion years ago. So in an age of blogging, you have no voice. In fact, if I were in J-school now, I’d have my knuckles rapped for using the rhetorical “you” in those last two sentences.

Lacy hits some good targets, but basically misses the point. J. School isn't about newspapers or how news get delivered or any particular style. Never was. It's about journalism (Journalism School: not just a clever name) Inverted pyramids, blog posts, sound slides, 90-second videos, tweets, blah and blah -- who cares? With the probable exception of literary and literate magazine writing, just about anyone can learn any of the forms in no time flat. Learning to report, however, learning what matters and why, and how to make the myriad decisions that underlie good journalism, that's a whole different story.

And whether or not you have the freedom to write the word "you" when you're on the job ... It's really not the reason to blow off j. school.

I agree that you might be able to learn just as much on the job -- if you have a good editor -- as you will in a classroom, but there's this: how are you going to get that job in the first place?

I did like the photo of Ed Asner, aka "Lou Grant". bk

p.s. (go here to see who New York Magazine considers the dinosaurs now.)


Anonymous said...

"They force you into a style that a bunch of dinosaurs all agreed was acceptable a zillion years ago."

This could be said about any job ever.

Andrea said...

Sad to say, but Lacy is clearly writing for the TechCrunch crowd who is cheering as newspapers sink. Also, she has a reputation for flattering herself - which is clearly the tact she takes here.

What I find particularly interesting, is the comments on this post. Seems like Lacy missed the boat according to many commenters..

Erin F. said...

You could make that argument for many different fields of work. It's a matter of what the student chooses to do, get field experience or go to learn the basics. Either way good writers can be found and created. No need to completely reject it.