The future of journalism (cue plug: “as I write in my new book, SuperMedia”) is about how paid journalists work with unpaid citizen journalists, professionals and public sharing the process. We will need fewer hacks churning out the basics and more expert editorial entrepreneurs and ‘enablers’ working with the citizen and consumer. That’s where we should focus our thinking and our investment in journalism studies.
Charlie continues in the comments here:
I agree with most of what Lemann says as I think you do too, Jeff. (Now there’s a first!). But what I think we have to be careful of is framing this problem as elite versus vocational.
Yes, we will need much more citizen-friendly, networked journalism in places that do media education (and all schools should be j-schools to an extent).
But we also need thought-leadership education for the editorial innovation, enterprise and strategic planning that will enable the grass-roots changes.
Here at Polis we are lucky to have both: a high-powered intellectual research capacity at the London School of Economics plus a state-of-the-art vocational department at the London College of Communications.
One answer is more interaction between us all.
Matt Storrin, former ME of the NY Daily News (and a colleague of mine there), also in the comments:
Perhaps this is an unfair comparison, because at Notre Dame we have no journalism major, but only a minor or “concentration.” It’s a small program. Many courses are open to students outside the program. In my current media ethics class, at least half have no interest in a professional journalism career. (Two probably dream of careers in the NBA and NFL.) In my fall course, a modern history of journalism, two thirds said they had no intention of pursuing a journalism career. I would think there must be other schools where this is true. I think you are right, given the media landscape today, there is reason to believe that these “non-journalist” students may actually find practical benefit from these courses not only as consumers (the default rationale) but as practitioners.
And here’s Mindy McAdams.