Wednesday, December 9

Changing Journalism: Reynolds School of Journalism

If anyone is still wondering, and a few people still are, the changes taking place in journalism today are as permanent as any that preceded it. The changes are not only taking place with publishers at a snail's pace, but also in higher education at an increasingly hastened pace.

Funded by an $8 million grant from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Reynolds School of Journalism and Center for Advanced Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno, is specifically designed to help students "navigate the revolution in journalism." Most of the grant will be used to rewire and re-cable the journalism building, which includes a robust server system that will replace analog TV and radio facilities and create a new multimedia newsroom.

"This is a transformational gift," Milton D. Glick, president of the university, said. "It means our students will be even more prepared to communicate on every platform--print, broadcast, the Internet, social media and whatever comes next."

To help maintain the new infrastructure, the school is also launching a campaign to raise a restricted fund of $1.6 million. The changes are not restricted to infrastructure, but critical thinking and skill sets. Students who enrolled in the school this year were asked to purchase their own video camcorders.

The blended approach is well suited for the school, which offers the only accredited journalism program in the state. Even when I attended as a student several years ago, it helped shape the foundation for an integrated approach to communication.

While the core of the program is journalism, various electives provide students an opportunity to place an emphasis in other communication fields, including broadcast, public relations, and advertising. While the requirements remain the same, several new core requirements are being introduced, including multimedia reporting and production.

We see these additions to be critical for students entering journalism and communication today as they will likely serve them much longer in a field that continues to evolve, with significant crossover between public relations, news media, social media, and advertising. And even if some students do not see why every core class is important to their area of interest (as someone who had an advertising emphasis, I didn't appreciate reporting until years later), all of them will become vital requirements in the next decade.

It's equally vital for current advertising, public relations professionals, and even journalists to consider this emergent structure. As students from school, as well as several other progressive universities, many of these graduates won't have the same restrictive thinking that many practicing professionals seem to be hindered by today.

They won't ask questions like "which silo ought to be in charge of social media?" Or "Should I emphasize writing over video production?" Or "How do I distinguish professional journalist and a blogger?" In an integrated, interactive, portable multimedia-driven world, those questions will become as obsolete as "How do I pitch a non-news story."


Journalism Schools on 1/11/10, 5:08 AM said...

Informative Stuff!! Thanks for sharing it!!


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