Skills they ought to teach in J-school


Online journalist Mac Slocum has written three brief commentaries for the Poynter Institute about skills he wished he had learned more about at journalism school. He talks about wanting more instruction on how to be a researcher and (information-finding) guide; about how to generate traffic for a website; and how to lead and moderate online communities.


Slocum wrote his commentaries after reading a critical but incisive essay that journalist Mark Glaser wrote for the PBS blog MediaShift. Glaser writes:


“Almost every interaction I’ve had with journalism schools and their faculty reaffirms that these institutions have a long way to go before they can evolve from the oldthink mindset . . . Nowhere do students get the inkling that the metro paper might not exist by the time they get there — at least in its current ink-stained format. Nowhere do they learn the ins and outs of being a freelancer, even though they are living in a free agent nation, almost assured of being downsized out of a job at some point.”

The reporting of the crowds? PC Magazine columnist Lance Ulanoff takes a skeptical view of experiments that use citizen journalists to supplement the investigative efforts of professional journalists. He writes:


“Assignment Zero, a beta project from Wired magazine and . . . (is) really a mash-up between citizen journalism, crowdsourcing, and investigative reporting . . . Go to the site, find a topic that interests you, or—if the site editors are lucky—one you really know something about, and you can take on part of the reporting and contribute to the larger story . . . Sounds exhilarating, doesn’t it?

“It burns my shorts.”

I have no experience with this hybrid model but I do think it is exhilirating. Thanks to Deep Cuz, a reader from Florida, for pointing this out.


Video streaming, a youth thing? A survey by market research firm Ipsos finds that people under 25 are leading the video download trend; that downloaders tend to be affluent; and that short clips have been the favorite fare so far but there is interest in movies. The Ipsos press release contains charts and details and this caveat:



“The most common barriers to downloading are users’ unwillingness to pay for this content, as well as a perceived difficulty or inability to burn these files onto DVD – presumably so users can watch this content on their living room TV.”




(Artwork from, a blog devoted to issues of women in science.)