Saturday, November 19, 2005

Well-Known Blogger Visits JMC

When JMC alum Bob Scoble talked with JMC faculty this week, he didn't pull any punches. The first thing he did was predict that his 11-year-old son would never read a newspaper; instead, he said, he'll get all his news online.

The well-known Microsoft blogger (a.k.a. Scobleizer) talked about the changes he sees coming in the media industry, and how he thinks JMC should change its curriculum to better prepare students for this new media world.

Scoble recommended integrating print design and production with broadcast journalism, and suggested we build a partnership with the computer science department. He also advised us to teach students how to use RSS feeds, news aggregators and other online tools, as well as new advertising technologies.

"The new world is…find some way to build a brand and build traffic," Scoble said. "The business model is changing completely."

So what will J-school students need to know? You'll still need to know how to write and tell stories, and how to take photos or shoot video, Scoble said. But that's no longer enough. The old media already have plenty of experienced hands who have those skills…and they're laying them off.

What new grads will need, Scoble said, are basic computer display skills. You don't have to be a computer programmer or know how to build it, but you do have to understand how things work, where to find it and how to combine it.

"You still need all the same skills to gather news, but you have more tools now. There's a new way to do journalism," he said.

The next generation of journalists (and PR and marketing professionals) are going to need to be able to explain in an animated, graphic way how something happened or how something works. And, Scoble added, the news media is going to need people "who know how to blog and have a conversation" with the public.

If you'd like to read more about Scoble's visit to JMC, check out blog postings by JMC alum Steve Sloan (who also provides an audio link) and JMC grad student Ryan Sholin. And here's a direct link to what Scoble wrote in his blog about his JMC visit.

So, what changes do you think are needed in JMC's curriculum?


jean said...

I'm scared. I am a journalism student at SJSU, planning on graduating in May and all I hear is bad news; how newspaper readership is down and online news sources rarely survive, how it seems that I am learning nothing people say I should be learning about the web, technology and how to be a "do it all" journalist. My future and the future of those graduating behind me is a mystery. But what we do know is that journalism has always been and will always be about good reporting in an easily understood format. Why don't we let that be the backbone of our department and have other classes, such as ethics and law, web design and editing and multimedia act as the required "icing on the cake" so that students are ready and able to enter the career field of their choice once they graduate. I think the reason we have had so many instances of journalists plagarising and blantantly lying is because the focus of our society has shifted from the importance of good content to flashy design and trendiness. Let's take a look at what's really important and base our classes and mission statement around that.

Kyle Hansen said...

This is a topic I have thought about for a long time. I do not know why traditional media companies are so afraid of the Internet. It seems like they have been fighting it for years but they have finally realized that they don't have a choice but to adapt. NBC just began to offer viewers the opportunity to watch Nightly News online a few weeks ago. It's about time! Because the big news outlets have been trying to ignore the Internet, regular people have become a major source of information (i.e. blogs). This gives more people an opportunity to express themselves and to discuss what is important to them, but it also means that news sources have become increasingly unreliable. Rumors and lies can spread quickly and it is hard to know what Internet sources to trust. I look forward to a time that reputable reporters begin to use the Internet as a legitimate way to spread information. I think that TV and newspapers will be replaced by the internet, but so far, most news sources online are either unreliable or hard to use or expensive.