Journalism schools have to go where the puck will be


Journalism schools are caught in a dilemma: Should journalism curricula reflect the media’s needs as they are now or should J-schools be more experimental and in effect, become think tanks and laboratories for the new, new journalism and an audience that may – or may not – materialize?

Ideally, it can and should be both training for today and tomorrow.

Yet at a time when the definition of “what is a journalist” is up for grabs, journalism schools continue to insist on teaching ethics, values and responsible journalism alongside with broadcasting production and long-form magazine editing. This may be satisfying to the professoriat, but increasingly frustrating to journalism students who see these debates as stultifying and irrelevant in the age of Gawker scoops and action-packed Vice TV videos from Syria.

The solution to this may be to engage in what I call the “Wayne Gretzky Approach to Journalism.”

The Great One was asked what was the secret to his astonishing hockey skills. His reply (I’m paraphrasing), “I don’t go to where the puck is. I go to where the puck will be.”

That is what journalism schools need to do now.

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