Posts Tagged ‘Journalism education’

At today’s meeting of the faculty of the Manship School of Mass Communication, I will be discussing why and how faculty should use Twitter.

Dean Jerry Ceppos asked me to discuss the topic following my discussion earlier this month about why editors should be active on Twitter. We agreed that a similar discussion of Twitter’s value in teaching communication students would be helpful.

Both to gather more views than just mine (and to demonstrate Twitter’s usefulness in crowdsourcing), I asked my tweeps:

My tweeps, as usual, were most helpful in their responses:




My examples lean more toward teaching journalism than the other specialties taught in the Manship School: political communication, advertising and public relations. I think a lot of the advice received from other professors would be helpful in multiple fields, but I welcome your advice relating to a particular specialty in journalism or any of those other fields of communication.

Here are the slides I used (showing the tweets above as well as some examples I used):


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My distracting laptop

My distracting laptop

I’ve updated this post after discussing the issue with my class. 

I can think of no journalism professors I admire more than Clay Shirky and Jay Rosen. But I (so far) disagree with them on the subject of whether to allow students to use laptops and mobile devices during class.

Clay has explained in a blog post why he bans computers from his classroom. Jay chimed in his agreement:

They both have notably more classroom experience than I do, and they might be right. I encourage you to read Clay’s full explanation and won’t try to summarize it here, but he cites research about how multitasking can interfere with learning.

My limited experience is different. I was very glad yesterday that a student had her laptop and multitasked in class. (more…)

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This continues my series of posts on advice for a new journalism professor. This is a guest post by Lori Shontz, senior editor at The Penn Stater alumni magazine and an adjunct lecturer in the Penn State College of Communications.

Lori Shontz

Lori Shontz

I start every semester by telling students something like this: “Writing is a craft. Reporting is a craft. As you do things over and over, you get better.”

I’ve found that teaching is similar. I tweak, I worry, I experiment, I revise. I reflect.  So my transition from the newsroom to the classroom felt familiar. I learned to teach partially by reporting — asking questions of veteran instructors, observing and analyzing speakers, mulling over ideas just as I do as a journalist.

Reading other syllabi helps, too. I’ve found the journalism teaching community to be generous with their time and materials, and the syllabus exchange at Poynter’s NewsU is a terrific resource, too.

All that said, here are the three biggest things I’ve learned in nine semesters teaching a 200-level introductory news writing and reporting class at Penn State: (more…)

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This continues my series of posts on advice for a new journalism professor. This is a guest post by Pam Fine, Knight Chair for News, Leadership and Community at the University of Kansas.

Pam Fine

Pam Fine

It’s not unusual to hear professors moan about grading, not just because it can consume entire weekends — which it often does — but because of the tension over how much and what kind of feedback on assignments is actually helpful.

Many professors I know, including myself, continually experiment with ways to provide comments that are constructive and instructive.

As some educational experts say, today’s college kids were “not allowed to skin their knees.”  So, it’s important to provide honest feedback in a way that’s effective for a generation used to getting positive reinforcement.

My advice is to be as clear as possible about your expectations, and self-edit so your key points stand out. (more…)

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Most journalism courses should cover a wide range of content, from terminology to skills to strategy.

This post continues my response to a colleague who asked for advice for her first gig teaching journalism as an adjunct faculty member. I had emailed Jenn Lord Paluzzi asking if I could use her name in answering the question and hadn’t heard back from her when I posted yesterday, so she was unidentified in yesterday’s post, which was about the different ways that you teach.

Jenn quickly claimed the question, though:

Continuing the discussion, I can think of at least seven levels on which you need to teach the content of most courses: (more…)

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I have recommended digital-first approaches recently to faculty and student media leaders at my alma mater, Texas Christian University, and the University of Oregon.

I am delighted that Emerald Media in Oregon has announced that it will be digital-first next year, stopping Monday-Friday daily newspaper publication in favor of a timely digital news approach and two weekly print magazines. The University of Georgia’s Red and Black shifted to digital first with its move to weekly print production last fall (I played no role there).

TCU will continue publishing the Daily Skiff (I am a former Skiff editor, spring semesters of 1975 and ’76) four days a week, but will produce all content first and primarily for digital platforms. “We are moving from some of the news being produced and distributed first on a digital platform to all of the news being produced digitally with the intent of distributing it first in real-time via a digital platform,” Schieffer School of Journalism Director John Lumpkin told me in an email.

Even where the changes involve cutting the frequency of print production, we should not regard these moves as cutbacks but as moving forward. “This step is critical to expanding news coverage for our audience, in addition to preparing students for the changes in our profession,” John said.

The Schieffer School set the stage for this move by launching a news website, tcu360, that operated largely independently of the Skiff and TCU News Now, the student TV operation. “We made the philosophical decision to go ‘digital first’ in the spring of 2011 by creating tcu360,” John said.

This is the direction student media need to go. Journalism students must prepare to work and compete in the digital news marketplace and journalism schools and student media must do a better job of preparing them. (more…)

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A quick roundup of pieces I don’t have time to break down in detail:

Journalism and education

Ken Doctor

In The newsonomics of  News U, Ken Doctor suggests that news organizations can expand their community news and information role and play a formal role in education in the community:

As the tablet makes mincemeat of the historic differences among newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio, we see another bright line ready to dim: that seeming line between what a news organization and what a college each do.

I’m not going to try to summarize Ken’s piece, but I encourage you to read it. I will respond to one of Ken’s suggestions for the news business: (more…)

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Joe Sheller, who teaches journalism at Mount Mercy College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, asked recently on Twitter what he should be learning and teaching about social media:

  1. Joe Sheller
    JSheller OK Twits. Retweet by @stevebuttry sold me–I need social media in j courses. What should I: A) Learn? B) Require students to do?

I answered in an email with a link to my November post about journalism curriculum (and I didn’t think of it at the time, but I also recommend reading Vadim Lavrusik’s post on the same topic). Then I added this (edited, expanded and updated a bit for the blog): (more…)

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I haven’t spent this much time talking to journalism professors and students since I graduated from Texas Christian University (let’s just say some time ago).

I visited TCU last week to present seminars on the Complete Community Connection and journalism ethics in the digital age. And since I was sticking around for some memory-lane time, the curriculum committee at TCU’s Schieffer School of Journalism asked me to meet with them and tell them what I think journalism schools should be teaching about our swiftly changing field.

I shared my views with them and will share them with you here shortly. The TCU meetings continued a heavy fall schedule of consultations with journalism faculty and students on a variety of related topics: (more…)

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