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Journalism: doom v. boom

November 18, 2009

“Fair, accurate, and responsible in-depth journalism is essential for any democratic society, and never more so than today,” writes Mark C. Taylor in the Chronicle Review.

Taylor, chair for the department of religion in Columbia University is just one of the academics who voiced their opinion on the decline of news and what it would mean for the world of education.

Many of these academics feel that the future (and success) of journalism lies in the students they are preparing for entrance to the field. One of the most interesting points that was made was by our very own, Ted Gup, chair of the journalism department for Emerson College. He writes, “Our classrooms should help define what it is communities need from journalists and reverse-engineer students, rather than second guess the dictates of technology.”
Instead of all of the complaining and the negative gloom and doom about journalism, schools are capable of shaping the future of journalism. A proactive attitude toward the situation may be of more help than constant nagging. Gup also makes the point that most students today have grown up in an age where news meant turning on the television during dinner only to find two angry people debating each other. This is clearly not news. “Students today are not hostile to the traditional values and role of journalism, they are simply unfamiliar with them.”

Along with teaching students about the heroics of past journalists, today’s technologies should be included in the classroom. There needs to be a balance between reporting and technology-driven modes of journalism. Faster is not always better. Speed will never win over accuracy.

Last week, CNN made an important decision regarding where they believe journalism should be headed. Lou Dobbs, an originial CNN anchor for 30 years, gave his resignation on air. In an op-ed article, Ed Rollins, CNN senior political contributor writes about what occurred.

“Jonathan Klein, president of CNN/USA, is a veteran, and respected, television
executive with a long and varied career in television news.

Klein adheres to the principles of CNN founder Ted Turner while trying to adjust to the
changing times of the news game. Jon is a man of principle who believes that television news
should be straightforward and that the anchors
should report it accurately and without bias.”

CNN decided to continue on with straightforward reporting. Realistically, journalism students can be as techy and hip to computers as possible, but the heart of journalism will always lie in clear and unbiased reporting.

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