A British paper and university are teaming up to create a joint newsroom and degree in multimedia journalism. This isn’t quite what I suggested when I said that newsrooms should become classrooms, but it’s a fascinating step. [via Greenslade]
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At CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, where I teach, I’m grateful to report that we just were awarded a grant from the Knight Foundation to create a guide with the top 10 rules bloggers and amateur journalists need to stay out of court. My colleague at CUNY, Geanne Rosenberg, who is a law-school graduate and is also journalism director at CUNY’s Baruch College, will be the primary author and I’ll help where I can. Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation journalism program officer, said in the press release: “If this grant helps keep just one blogger out of court for reporting the news, it served its purpose.”
This could not come at a more opportune moment. See the list of suits against bloggers maintained by the Media Law Research Center. Other are, thank goodness, finally working on this problem. Bob Cox at the Media Bloggers Association, has been a tireless advocate for bloggers in courts and legislatures. And the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School is also offering help. We need all the help we can get to assure not only that bloggers stay out of court but that we all maintain our free speech, free of suit and harassment.
The students at CUNY covered the election last night — what better laboratory could there be? — and here are the results.
Last night, we had our gala opening for the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and many noted with rueful nostalgia that we were in the old Herald-Tribune building (next to the new New York Times building). We were surrounded by computers and screens and students: in short, the future. It’s a reminder that newspapers do die. But journalism will continue, in one form or another.
Francis Beckett in The Guardian says that British academics and news professionals sniff at media studies. But the truth is that we need to study media now more than ever for media are in upheaval and it’s a great time to watch.
However genteel the language, what Cambridge has effectively done is stick a flashing neon sign saying “Mickey Mouse subject” over the door of the media studies department in every school, college and university in Britain. . . .
Maybe Feldman has hit on the subtext behind journalists’ contempt for the subject. They are not at all sure they like people responding to the media. Media studies students examine the actions of editors and journalists, and sometimes find them wanting. Media folk, as a class, are not used to being examined. If there is to be examination, they prefer it to be done by their own kind, hence the explosion of “media commentators” in the newspapers, the majority of them former editors.
So why not take the $6 million and create real new-media incubator businesses? Stanford University helped create Yahoo and Google, but those companies didn’t come from the journalism school. Perhaps the journalism schools could team with computer programming departments to create hybrid sites that combine the best technology of sites such as Digg or YouTube with the editorial standards that come from journalism.
We need that kind of innovation and daring in the industry — and it’s not coming from the industry.
This is why I added a course/lab in entrepreneurial interactive journalism into the CUNY curriculum; I’ll be teaching it next fall. The idea is that students will come up with and flesh out ideas for new businesses or products. I’m hoping that some of them may even come to life. But I’d like suggestions from you all on how to make this work, how to make it more than just prototypes, which journalism schools pump out regularly. What can bring the kind of entrepreneurial drive to journalism and media that Mark notes at Stanford around technology and media?
Mark’s story continues:
Ford, a fellow at Northwestern, told me he thinks journalism schools should be a place for innovation and experimentation as they live outside the commercial media world.
“In many industries, universities are the breeding ground for the cutting edge,” he said. “Whether it be science, industry, business or engineering, often university research can foster new development in a given industry. This has not always been the case in journalism schools. More often than not, students in J-schools are being trained on outdated equipment, with outdated technology, with the ultimate focus on theory and basic skills. This training can produce good, even great journalists — an admirable goal — but it does little to move journalism forward in innovation.
“Few are the media organizations with the resources and time to commit to experimenting with new ways of reporting and disseminating content. News21 is an experiment in itself, a chance for the time and resources to be committed for the sole purpose of trying something new. Whether our work resonates or not will be evident in coming weeks. In the end, it was a daring experiment, and will be worth its effort in lessons learned, if nothing else.”
I should add that there are elements of this at the Northwestern Medill program. I worked with Rich Gordon and the students there on the GoSkokie hyperlocal project at the same time that they created new sections for the Lee newspapers. Both projects, are sadly, history and I think that may be because they depended on big, old media companies to nurture them. That is no longer necessary. And I’d say it’s also not desirable, for big new ideas — Yahoo, Google, MySpace, Flickr, About, YouTube, Wikipedia… — could grow bigger faster on their own.
For the first time since William Randolph Hearst, journalists can think and act independently and entrepreneurially. So how do we help them do that?
LATER: Two minutes after posting this, Rich Gordon gave me the good news that I am wrong about the continuing life of those two projects: But your post is wrong that both projects are history. Lee killed the print property but kept it alive online. And it’s really great news that, as Rich says, “the Skokie Library took the GoSkokie ball and ran with it” at SkokieTalk, crediting the Medill project as the inspiration.
: AND: Terry Heaton and I seize on the same paragraph.