Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Thing I Didn't Choose Colorado

When I was narrowing down programs and trying to choose which Grad School I wanted to attend I was split between the University of Wisconsin Madison and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Michigan State's Knight Center for Environmental Journalism was a big draw, but I didn't get the acceptance letter until just days before I had to make a decision, making a visit to the school impossible, so that pretty much counted them out. I chose UW because I loved Madison, and I felt like I would fit into the community much better than I would in Colorado.

As it turns out, its a good thing I chose UW instead of Colorado because CU Boulder is closing their Journalism school. It would have been incredibly unfortunate to be stuck there with the program completely restructuring. Most likely, I would have ended up with a graduate degree in something that didn't reflect my actual interests and job goals (probably information studies or multi media something or another.) I guess I dodged the proverbial bullet on that one.

Thanks to my Mom for this interesting article on the closing and how journalism, despite the massive loss of revenue in recent years, is expanding at an enormous rate due to the rise of new technologies. Universities need to find a way to fit the ever changing role of journalism into their programs.

One quote from the article that I just want to highlight is from David Hazinski an associate professor at the University of Georgia's Journalism and Mass Communication program. Essentially he's explaining why journalists still have a role to play in a society that has been bombarded by instant opinion and commentary through blogs, twitter, etc. People trained in the technology are not the same as people who are trained in telling the story.

"Journalism isn't hardware. It is content and context. Someone is still going to have to go to that fire and shoot some video, interview the mayor, and analyze that stock report. Someone is still going to have to package it, if for no other reason than to save audiences time. Writing, interviewing, editing, and working under pressure will still be needed skills. Ethics and standards will become even more important as the sea of opinion grows deeper. The content and context will be distributed over many platforms but someone has to be at the top of the information food chain. Those people will be skilled journalists, not technicians."

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