After reading the Reconstruction of American Journalism report, I am intrigued by the idea of universities becoming more involved with producing and sustaining journalism. What more of a practical, hands-on education can be provided to a student than one that requires fulfilling the civic duty of journalism for the benefit of those in the surrounding community?
Often times students are taught through textbook lesson plans and artificial scenarios where learning and skills obtained through practice can’t possibly transfer to sound knowledge and expertise in their field of study. Learning comes through experience, through failing and fixing. What better way is there to learn than have students take on a practical, hands-on education that would come from being thrown head-first into real journalism? Universities should get more involved with producing and sustaining journalism, for the benefit of all parties.
“The goal of higher education is, among other things, to prepare people to become responsible and productive citizens. Without serious journalists who are free to do their jobs thoroughly and carefully, democratic society as we have known it cannot survive”, wrote Mark Taylor, Chair of the Religion Department at Columbia University, in his response to the Chronicle Review’s article on ‘Academe and the Decline of News Media’.
While the new “journalistic ecosystem” includes accumulating and producing news across a more local-based community, the system provides accountability potential. Large news outlets are becoming less prevalent, and communities are becoming more dependent on local news sources.
So where will accountability journalism, something that is a central factor to any democratic society, fit in? Where will the necessary reporting resources, professional leadership, and stable financial support come from?
Dan Gillmor proposed letting local institutions and private businesses light up a taxpayer-funded wiring of America, which I would gladly envision before allowing government to vote on nationalized newspapers. Journalism does not need to depend on government solutions. Let the market work, and allow journalism to exhist without the large overhead costs of a select few media organizations.