Monday, September 21, 2009

From the keyboards of babes

In the Online Journalism Review, a former J-school professor outlines eight things journalism students should demand of their professional education these days.

AND, OF COURSE, a journalism student has something to say in the comments:

While I agree with all of these, the last one really resonates with me, as I am a current journalism student. When we have guest speakers come in and say things like "run while you can,"and "you're crazy to get a j-degree," I get incredibly frustrated. Aren't these professionals supposed to believe in journalism as a pillar of democracy and a way for people to make informed decisions? Maybe they should go back to school and try to remember why they got into the field in the first place, because I'm pretty confident it wasn't for the money then, and it's not about the money now. Yes citizen journalism is becoming more prevalent, but that should give us a reason to step our reporting up a notch instead of laying down in defeat and whining about it.

AH, YOUTH. God bless, 'em, the voices of people not yet beaten down by life. Or journalism.

That said, the kid's right. And the great professional struggle in this young student's life will be to retain the ability, in 20 years, to write something like this with a straight face.

His (or her) professional life will be spent getting up every morning looking for yet another reason to give a damn. Trudging into the office every damn day and trying to remember "why they got into the field in the first place," because -- Lord knows -- it wasn't for the money, which doesn't quite stretch far enough to cover pressing expenditures.

AND THIS formerly young journalist will sit in a cubicle some future day, ruminating about the office collection of smart-asses, dolts, ass-kissers, rank incompetents and the really good Joe here and there. Then this middle aged sentinel of democracy will wonder just why the hell he ever thought people were "supposed to believe in journalism as a pillar of democracy and a way for people to make informed decisions."

Then our intrepid -- or, perhaps, formerly intrepid -- journalist will turn to the multimedia setup and make a crucial decision anew. One he's had to make every day since graduation in 2010.

"Do I gut it out another day in this God-forsaken place, or do I run while I still can?"

WATCH the above episode of WKRP in Cincinnati. I know it's from the olden days of media, back when there was still this thing called "radio" people listened to, but I think the dilemma -- and the choices made -- are universal.

And likewise will be in 2030, should we all be so lucky to still be here then.

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