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Posts Tagged ‘j-school’

The Debate Rages On: Do Journalists Need To Code?

Do journalists need to know HTML? What about CSS? Javascript? … Python?

The debate rages on, with the flame fueled again this week by journalist Olga Khazan writing about how she resented the time she spent learning how to write bad code in journalism school instead of doing something more in-line with her specific career goal of writing. Her article for The Atlantic led to Twitter debates for and against. The merry go round of yes, no, maybe goes round and round and round.

hernandezquoteI’d join the fray (beyond my comments on Twitter earlier this week) except that I think Robert Hernandez, an accomplished web journalist who actually also teaches at the j-school that writer attended, does a great job explaining why learning code (or at least exposure to it) matters for journalists. As he writes: I’ve had an incredible career because I learn the power behind the phrase “Hello World.” Or as he says later in the post in reference to j-school students who don’t want to learn, “It’s 2013 — are you really arguing against learning technology?” Read more

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Lauren Berger Writes New Book for Young People Entering "Real World"

Lauren Berger Welcome to the Real WorldCareer Expert, Lauren Berger, releases her second book, Welcome to the Real World: Finding Your Place, Perfecting Your Work, and Turning Your Job Into Your Dream Career (Harper Business), on April 22nd. In this book, Berger shares everything she wishes someone told her after graduation. Her book is the essential guide to anyone starting their first, second, or third job. She encourages readers to be fearless, step outside of their comfort zones, and go after what they want.

HootSuite University Moving into J-School Classrooms

It’s back to school time and the debate about how to teach journalism is already underway. As academics debate the ‘teaching hospital model’ and hackathons, there’s some real time relief for professors at the 101 level– and it’s coming from a brand. HootSuite, the social media management system, has long offered certification programs and paid pro-package ‘educate yourself’ content. Now, they’re moving into higher education.

Launched in 2011,  HootSuite University has already partnered with over 350 universties, including NYU, Syracuse, and Columbia. The program is more than just product training, though that’s included. There’s also a tailored curriculum for journalism and communications professors, which covers topics from the easy stuff like maintaining a social media presence and best practices to story tracking and analytics.

Lesson objectives cover a variety of topics from “How to Live Tweet an Event With Integrity” and “Compare Social Media Analytics with Site Traffic Using Google Analytics. The curriculum follows the “Read, Watch, Do” format, so professors have an archive of articles, videos, and examples to share with students and suggestions for homework assignments like setting up a Tumblr blog and tracking it, or revising a Twitter bio. Professors can follow the curriculum rigorously, or just use it as inspiration. Dr. William Ward, a professor at at the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse, uses HootSuite’s program to make more time for other things, he told me via email: 

I integrate HootSuite into the curriculum of all my courses because it frees me up to focus on higher level strategic concepts. Students receive recognized, industry leading professional credentials that give them a competitive advantage in the job arena.

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Is Learning HTML/CSS ‘Like Learning How to Use Commas’?

How important is it for journalists to know HTML/CSS? How about for journalism students, who will be entering a job market with more digital and fewer traditional job choices? This point has been discussed and debated to death. We’ve talked about it and covered sites and organizations that aim to help teach journalists to program.

But reading a recent post by University of Florida professor Mindy McAdams, it occurred to me how these skills have increasingly become expectations for job-hunting journalists. It’s not been enough for a long time to be a writer or a photographer, you need to be very good at something and at least good enough at others to be competitive in a world where writer’s send standups back from crime scenes and photographers produce slideshows, with intros and captions on the fly. But HTML? CSS? Javascript?

Her post is primarily aimed at journalism educators and why they should learn and teach HTML and CSS so their students are better equipped. But it’s beneficial to all journalists. She writes:

The system we use to present information on Web pages begins with HTML, a markup language that structures the content of the page.

I’m starting with HTML because I know a heck of a lot of journalism educators have never tried to learn HTML, and that’s just wrong. You know how to use a comma? Good, I would expect that. The basic use of HTML is just as important as correct use of commas, and it’s certainly not harder to learn.

The web is littered with comma splices, so certainly not everyone learned that skill. Nor will everyone be willing to learn HTML and CSS. (I say willing because I agree with Mindy that’s they’re very learnable. I taught myself starting when I was 10.) But she’s right, if a journalist wants to be competitive, to place themselves in the best position to land and keep a job, to have the best and most opportunities open to them, they’re going to want to know the basics or be willing to learn.
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The Top 50 Undergraduate Journalism Schools?

Here’s a link to send on to all the aspiring journalists in your life, especially if they haven’t picked a school yet. Dan Reimold of College Media Matters, sponsored by Associate Collegiate Press, updated his list of top journalism schools for 2013. It’s a broad list of 50 undergraduate programs with a few notable exclusions — Columbia, Georgetown, Stanford, etc. — mainly because their j-schools are graduate programs or they don’t have specific journalism majors.

Top 50 Journalism Schools

[Top 50 J-Schools word cloud created with Wordle]

If you’re looking to major in journalism or know someone in the hunt for the right college now, this is a solid list to start from of accredited institutions with solid programs beyond the few that people typically toss out as “the best.” Obviously, it’s a subjective list, but based on his perceptions and feedback from alums. And from reading the comments on the post, there’s a lot of discussions on who else should have been added and lots of additional ideas and recommendations for those that were included. It’s a good starting place. I know when I was looking for a j-school I started with a list of reasonably close accredited schools and narrowed it down. This list would have been more useful. And I like that he emphasized digital programs and practical experience — as Reimold put it, “It is strongly biased in favor of programs exciting me in the digital journalism realm and in some way aligned with quality campus media and professional publishing opportunities.” — since that’s what will get the grads hired.

Read the full list: 50 Best Journalism Schools and Programs at U.S. Colleges and Universities [Updated for 2013]

Educators: Knight Foundation’s Call For J-school Reform Is Unfair

Some educators are reacting negatively to The Knight Foundation’s open letter that called for journalism education reform.

Inside Higher Ed reports that journalism professors in Chicago for the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) conference are discussing the letter, and they don’t think it’s fair. Here are some of the reactions reported by Inside Higher Education.

Linda Steiner, AEJMC’s pressident and professor at University of Maryland, College Park says there’s not a one-size-fits all model:

“But my point is that the conventional j-school is rare these days: Some programs have journalism (including, often, PR and advertising) and other media fields…. Different schools have different understandings of their priorities and their mission.”

Beth Barnes, director of the school of journalism and telecommunications at the University of Kentucky and president of the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication says it’s not all about the latest gadgets:

[...] to her the debate seemed like a choice between teaching the fundamentals of the profession versus teaching about the “coolest, newest toy on the block.”

What do you think? Did these educators miss the point, or is Knight Foundation in the wrong?

Read more reactions in Inside Higher Ed’s full coverage →

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