Journalism could improve in the digital age

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Could the prophesied demise of newspapers actually lead to better journalism?

Author and media watcher Jim Stovall thinks so.  He believes that the paper so many of us old-timers revere has actually been a hindrance to good journalism. And he’d like to see it go away sooner rather than later.

I began to think ahead to the day when won’t be chained to the printing press. And my conclusion was that journalism will be better. Here’s why:

  • More reporting. I don’t necessarily buy the argument that there will be fewer journalists in the new age of digital journalism. The numbers will drop if the current news organization managers (editors and publishers) are in charge. Fortunately, they won’t be. Instead, we’re likely to have managers who recognize that good reporting — and lots of it — is an asset to the organization, not a cost to be cut.
  • More reporters. Students in my experience are wildly excited about this new age of journalism. I am honored to be the faculty adviser to the Tennessee Journalist , the student operated news web site of the School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee. More than 35 people regularly show up at our weekly staff meeting (only the editors are required to come) and the numbers are growing. The number of our majors has grown from 350 to 450 in just one year.
  • More, different and better ways of telling a story. Newspapers and the people who run them have stifled the development of digital journalism. Slavery to print — as well as simple laziness and stump stupidity — have sucked the energy out of efforts to creatively use this new medium.

[Continue reading Better Journalism]

It is interesting that as more people predict the end of newspapers, more students are signing up to study journalism. In many cases, students no longer dream of a job at newspapers, but see a journalism degree as a path not only to digital journalism but to other career opportunities as well. According to a recent article in the Albany Times-Union:

Dig into the numbers, though, and you’ll find “journalism” can be a misleading label. Most people studying journalism and mass communication aren’t interested in careers as old-school newshounds sniffing out scandals for newspapers, magazines and TV stations.

Some study the news as a liberal arts subject like English, and then head off to law school. Other J-school grads become public relations people who shape the news or advertising people who create the commercials that pay for it.

[Continue reading J-school Is Big]

Journalism is changing. Some might say it’s evolving. However, no matter what happens, journalistic skills — the ability to gather information, analyze that information and present it in an easily digestable format — will remain valuable going foward.

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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