I was brainstorming with a friend the other day about how technology is forcing changes inÂ journalism andÂ communication. The challenge isÂ toÂ marry theÂ skills and ethics of the past withÂ the tools and techniques of the future.Â This should beÂ an empowering time in human history — provided we who are the stewards of this moment can figure out how to train the next generationÂ for media possibilities the outlines of whichÂ areÂ only beginningÂ to emerge.Â Our goal should be to help people use the Web toÂ encourage civic, cultural and political involvement.Â
In the interests of keeping the discussion going let me jot down a few ideas that grew out of our chat, along with a couple of thoughts that occurred to me afterward.
What are likely to be the core skills (multimedia, multilingual, web design, etc.) and job characteristics of the future communication professional, whetherÂ writer,Â editor, broadcaster,Â public relations,Â user-interface designer,Â social media coordinator,Â or other?What populations need or want such training? Young people starting careers; mid-career refresher courses for media workers; continuing education for public relations and communication professionals; career-changers, retirees, civic actors, and others with “stories” to tell?Â
ÂWhat sort of cross-disciplinary opportunities exist in a new communication curriculum? WouldÂ business or nursing studentsÂ benefit from takingÂ a minor in communication? In an information age, does researching and creating “stories”Â becomeÂ an important part of every professional’s toolkit?What sort of entrepreneurial opportunities arise from teaching communication differently?Â Think about some of the disruptions inÂ education itself,Â such asÂ distance learning or “open source”Â textbook production. Would a three-way collaboration of communication,Â business andÂ teachingÂ disciplinesÂ yieldÂ new tools of instructions, perhaps even spawn education startups?And would it be possible to generate corporate or philanthropic support to help underwrite such experiments.
I’ve been exploring themes like these forÂ the last two years. In oneÂ one posting I tried to distill what I think is happening in journalismÂ (see “Rhetoric 2.0“; if nothing else, the posting is brief). In essence, I think journalism willÂ become diluted but more widely dispersed. By that I mean thereÂ will beÂ fewer professional journalistsÂ like me sitting around, waiting to interview governors or corporate executives,Â but farÂ more people practicing elements ofÂ journalism in their everyday lives.Â
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