J-schools revamp

At long last, journalism schools are changing what they teach in order to better prepare students for the media world that awaits them.  This fall, the University of North Carolina will launch what it calls a “new curriculum for a new century.” Journalism majors will still take required courses in news writing, ethics and law, but they’ll also have to take a course in audio-video information gathering.

Current UNC student Andrew Dunn says that’s a great start but it’s not enough:

What’s more important is that online concepts are effectively integrated with the standard core courses. With what I’ve seen with the J-school, that won’t be easy. Only a few professors have any clue about the Interwebs.

Complaints about clueless professors are nothing new. But a revamped curriculum should put them on notice that they’d better get up to speed, fast.

Columbia’s J-school is also revamping this fall, amid what New York Magazine calls an existential crisis over a “digitally focused curriculum designed to make all students as capable of creating an interactive graphic as they are of pounding out 600 words on a community-board meeting.”

…the push for modernization has also raised the ire of some professors, particularly those closely tied to Columbia’s crown jewel, RW1. “F*** new media,” the coordinator of the RW1 program, Ari Goldman, said to his RW1 students on their first day of class, according to one student. Goldman, a former Times reporter and sixteen-year veteran RW1 professor, described new-media training as “playing with toys,” according to another student, and characterized the digital movement as “an experimentation in gadgetry.”

Sounds like the new media-old media divide is alive and well at Columbia. But as the magazine points out, “The real issue, of course, isn’t whether the school can afford to change, but that it can’t afford not to.”