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Archive for September 11th, 2010

Journalism education needs an update. You can and must teach and honor the timeless fundamentals of journalism and still prepare journalists for the dynamic job market they will be entering.

Journalists and educators who play the “basics” card in resisting overhauls of journalism curriculum fail to acknowledge how basic to journalism resourcefulness and problem-solving are. When a county attorney who didn’t respect the law denied me access to a file in the local courthouse, I found the records I needed in the Iowa Supreme Court and got the story. When I couldn’t persuade intimidated friends of a victim to speak on the record for a story about domestic violence by a football player, I used a draft of the story using unnamed sources to prod reluctant coaches to confirm and clarify details on the record. When floods cut off streets in much of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, my staff covered the news in boats, chest waders and by finding alternate routes. Good journalists adjust to the situations they face and they don’t use obstacles as excuses.

We need to adjust to digital challenges and journalism educators need to stop using “basics” as an excuse. They need to develop ways to teach the basics along with principles and skills of innovation. (more…)

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