Reboot camp

Journalists: need new media knowledge!

Aspiring and seasoned US journalists alike are looking to tech-savvy graduate schools to help them survive and thrive in a new multimedia environment. Jon Marcus reports

Jennifer Hellum’s first semester as a graduate student in journalism school taught her, among other things, how to function with almost no sleep.

That experience came courtesy of the “boot camp” for new students at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, covering news reporting, writing, radio and television journalism, online media and other topics, four days a week, beginning at 7.45am, for 16 weeks.

Even for Hellum, who already had an undergraduate degree in journalism, “boot camp was exhausting in a way I had never known”. But by the end of it, she says, she and her fellow students “were competent multimedia journalists”.

The Cronkite School – part of Ari State University, and named after the broadcast journalist – is among 113 US journalism schools working to prepare students for an industry in dramatic upheaval.

More than a quarter of US newspaper jobs have disappeared in the past decade as circulations nosedived by an average of one-third, according to the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism. Some newspaper companies have lost as much as three-quarters of their value. Several are in bankruptcy or have closed. Advertising revenue has dropped by 43 per cent in the past three years.

Yet students continue to come to journalism schools. Overall enrolment fell by half of 1 per cent last year, the first decline since 1993, but the number of first- and second-year students rose slightly, suggesting that the numbers will at least remain level.

By Digital Fingerprint

Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital cultureĀ  in the third sector (especially faith). Author of 'Raising Children in a Digital Age', regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.

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