Crisis in Journalism: A Microcosm -1

This series is a re-post of a earlier post but divided into sections to make the reading experience easier (if anyone is interested). This also allows for minor revisions and tweaking.

The battle in D:F/M over the direction of  the journalism curriculum (reflecting the many conflicts of the internecine war of several years also ongoing in D:F/M) forced me into a publish or perish mode. This post is one of the results.

I know from spending time at the Poynter Institute, visiting the McCormick Foundation, being involved with numerous projects and activities of  New America Media, the New York Times Foundation, New York Community Media Alliance, the Ford Foundation, and so many more other activities, and reviewing studies and proposals and engaging in forums and discussions  – I engage more than any other Colleague in my department if not at the College – that the discussions and battles and intrigue resonating and burning in D:F/M reflect in some ways what is going on in the business and profession at large.

I’ve also been re-reading The Reconstruction of American Journalism by Leonard Downie Jr. and Michael Schudson. It was released in October, 2009. And I’m planning to use it in my journalism ethics and responsibility class this semester.

Other college and university programs are probably wrestling with this issue of burgeoning technological change but most, I am assuming, eschew the maniacal internecine struggles that threaten students’ education. My Colleagues are just too cavalier about the curriculum.

So, I’m posting here a draft of an opinion that was written in Spring, 2009, but for reasons I can’t recall was never disseminated in my department – or at least it appears it was never sent – though many of the themes and topics have been circulated  by me for years. Now, that my department is on the verge of voting on curriculum changes that I’ve been saying for a long, long time are antediluvian and effete that I have made clear that I will not support when it comes to a vote, I am publishing here one of what I call an A Cassandra Moment.

This is the crux of the issue. The Powers That Be in D:F/M have been flummoxed by the burgeoning technology. The students enrolling in D:F/M classes, however, are media savvy, that is, they have been using media extensively well before they ever enrolled in our classes. They write. They use photographs. They produce videos. They do a lot more.

Flummoxed, D:F/M Colleagues have opted not to address the change happening rapidly before their eyes.

End of Part 1

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