Journalism schools need to make profound changes in teaching and accreditation practices if they are to remain relevant to students and advance the field, a report from the argues.
Based on a survey of and interviews with journalism educators, recent graduates, veteran journalists, Internet entrepreneurs, and media startups, the report, , found that with the evolution of "digital first" practices redefining the news and information ecosystem, universities need to change their fundamental approach to teaching journalism. To successfully prepare the Class of 2025 for a rapidly changing media landscape, the report argues, journalism schools need to embrace "currency" as a core value and focus on teaching students how to stay up to date by constantly learning.
To that end, the report calls on journalism programs to become less theoretical and provide constantly updated and immersive skills instruction by faculty with demonstrable expertise; establish digital-first academic startups — the educational equivalents of the s, s, and s of the news-and-information marketplace — to deliver that expertise to classrooms; and create a mission-specific accreditation process which values programs that actually prepare students for twenty-first-century journalism rather than focus on institutional traditions and approaches.
"There is room in the academy for a more nimble, intentionally disruptive, and hyper-professional journalism school," said president and co-founder Dianne Lynch, who authored the report. "It's not the answer for every institution or the solution to every challenge in front of us. It is, however, a model that has the potential to upend some of the constraining operating assumptions of academia — about everything from scheduling and staffing to core curricula and learning outcomes — that contribute to the truly troubling current state of affairs."