Thoughts on teaching Journalism 2.0



I was brainstorming with a friend the other day about how technology is forcing changes in journalism and communication. The challenge is to marry the skills and ethics of the past with the tools and techniques of the future. This should be an empowering time in human history — provided we who are the stewards of this moment can figure out how to train the next generation for media possibilities the outlines of which are only beginning to emerge. Our goal should be to help people use the Web to encourage civic, cultural and political involvement. 
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, whether writer, editor, broadcaster, public relations, user-interface designer, social media coordinator, 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? 


  • What sort of cross-disciplinary opportunities exist in a new communication curriculum? Would business or nursing students benefit from taking  a minor in communication? In an information age, does researching and creating “stories” become an important part of every professional’s toolkit?
  • What sort of entrepreneurial opportunities arise from teaching communication differently? Think about some of the disruptions in education itself, such as distance learning or “open source” textbook production. Would a three-way collaboration of communication, business and teaching disciplines yield 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 for the last two years. In one one posting I tried to distill what I think is happening in journalism (see “Rhetoric 2.0“; if nothing else, the posting is brief). In essence, I think journalism will become diluted but more widely dispersed. By that I mean there will be fewer professional journalists like me sitting around, waiting to interview governors or corporate executives, but far more people practicing elements of journalism in their everyday lives.