Training the new journalist

Hundreds of new journalism graduates are either out looking for jobs right now or soon will be following December graduation ceremonies.  At least as many experienced journalists are also out pounding the pavement for work in the wake of layoffs across the country.

NPR’s Alex Cohen sat down to talk with with Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Journalism, Neil Henry, about what the future may hold for the journalism profession and journalism education.

How can journalism survive?

The most controversial element of the interview involves Henry’s assertion that more journalists will need to be entrepreneurs.  He suggests they won’t work for traditional media companies, rather they will be in business for themselves.  Unfortunately, when Cohen tried to press him on whether this would result in “journalism for hire,”  Henry really avoided answering the question.  However, he did say UC Berkeley’s j-school is working with the business school to develop courses that might help journalists make money outside the corporate journalism structure.

Still, it’s worth thinking about.  Obviously, there are some journalists who have gone out on their own to produce news content and profit from it, while seeming to uphold journalistic standards, but there aren’t many.  And several who have done it eventually seem to operate on much the same old economic model as journalism always has (i.e. Huffington Post with its Blackberry ads and outside investors).

So, how feasible is Henry’s idea?  Can journalism survive and thrive without the infrastructure created by big media companies?  Or will it have to?

Advertisement