Who really gets the failing grade here?

SKY Sport 24 news channel studio in Italy.

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s an excerpt from Wayne MacPhail’s blog post today, “How Journalism Teachers are Failing, and How to Stop it”

Many journalism profs, I’d wager, have never used Flipboard, done a podcast, played with Foursquare or Gowalla or have really seriously engaged in an online social community. Nor have they paid attention to the video blogs and online networks that bear as much resemblance to a traditional television studio as a unicycle does to a Hummer.

How do I know this? I teach third and fourth year and post-grad level online journalism courses at two universities in Ontario, Canada. Over the course of the past 15 years, I’ve done the same at a handful more.”

At first I think, whoa, wait a minute,  I’m doing all this!  What’s this media “expert” talking about?  Where did he go to school?  Then I read that he’s in Canada.  Yes, that explains everything … just kidding.  But seriously, reading this put me on the offensive.  At St. Peter’s, I’m a one-woman journalism department and I have really tried to put together a curriculum that not only teaches students the foundations of journalism, like good reporting and reporting, but I’m also making sure my students leave St. Pete’s with some necessary skills.  Heck, even the internships these days, and yes, I’m talking about the non-paid ones are requiring their slave labor, oops, I mean interns to shoot, edit, write blogs and sell ads.  (Okay, I added the last one).  Jobs no longer are willing to train students, they want them coming in with these skills even before they graduate.  I remember when I was an intern, all I had to do was answer phones and rip scripts.

But here is my problem.  My rant starts now.  We may have a journalism program, but we really don’t have the resources to run one.  And that is what’s troubling.  My students have to share/fight over one, sometimes two working computers in our department.    Yes, it’s frustrating, especially when I visit other schools, including a grade school and see all their shiny new Macs all lined up like obedient soldiers.   We also have only 2 cameras (no mikes) to shoot video.  We have no audio recorders, so students borrow mine or use their phones.  Students with I-Phones and Macbooks of their own are the lucky ones.  But I really should not be asking them to use their own equipment!  Alas, the administration tell me there is no money.  And I tell my students, welcome to the real world.


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