Via Will Richardson, I came across this NYTimes article/blog/whatever, “Mourning Old Media’s Decline.” It’s an interesting article about the ongoing implosion of old media/traditional newspapers. My wife and I were just talking the other day about canceling our paper subscription to the Ann Arbor News; what’s the point if I’m either going to not read it at all and/or read it online?
Anyway, this is an article that might work well for 444, where I usually have some discussion/unit/readings about “citizen journalism.” But I also post about this because I think that Will has it slightly wrong, when he writes:
The problem for us is that we’re still teaching like our kids are going to be reading those edited, linear, well-written newspapers when the reality is they’re not. And the bigger problem is that, by and large, we still don’t know enough about the “new” media world in our personal practice to push those conversations about change in any meaningful way.
We better figure it out pretty quickly, or we’ll be mourning much more than old media…
These are important warnings, but I have to say that I think that my colleagues in journalism (and I teach in a somewhat unusual English department in that journalism is housed here) are well-aware of this, and I think that there teaching has been moving in that direction. I’m not completely privy to the discussions that happen among that group, and I do know there is a tension between, um, “old school” and “new school” folks. That being said, there’s lots of technological awareness, abilities, and pedagogy in these kinds of classes.
And the thing is that while the medium itself is changing– as is the definition of what constitutes an “expert” or a “journalist”– the basic literacy and research skills of what we train in students in journalism is not. We still have lots and lots of students in our journalism program (not to mention PR and our writing majors), and, as far as I can tell, these students still end up getting jobs. It’s just that the paper pulp and the ink is gone.