Eric Newton said, is to deal with the shrinking professional journalism field and figure out what to do with the gigantic screaming echo chamber that is social media.
Journalism, he said, has been turned upside-down and inside-out because of the digital age. Where readers, viewers and listeners were once the audience, we are all now a part of a giant community, where news and information goes in multiple directions at once.
But Newton, the senior advisor to the president of the Knight Foundation, wanted to know whether you thought that journalism education was adapting quick enough?
Journalism education, he argued, is a turtle in an age when the communications field evolves lightning quick. He called journalism education a "symphony of slowness." Colleges have an emphasis on research, which he argued adds little to the industry. Rather, he would like to see journalism programs adapt a teaching hospital model where students study with and work alongside professionals who are helping to shape the future of journalism.
Temple, he said, was among the better journalism programs in the country. Then he added, "You're a fast turtle. But from where I sit, you're still a turtle."
Some of the technology and crazy ideas represented in futuristic movies like Minority Report, The Matrix and I,Robot are now commonplace, Newton said, and others are coming. These new ideas and devices will change the way we communicate.
"Are you an engine of change or the caboose being dragged along?" he asked.
Here are a few others things he said that stood out for me:
• "Figure it out" was the best advice he ever received.
• You don't need a journalism degree to become a journalist but it helps. Journalism school teaches you the skills and value of the craft.
• To be successful as a modern journalist, you need to be very good at a few things and good at a lot more. Being a single-skilled journalist will not be enough.
• Journalism without community engagement is not enough.
• Measuring engagement is difficult - is it based upon comments, shares, action resulting from stories, etc?
• Newspapers are not dying. Home-delivered, paid circulation, subscriber-based newspapers in the industrialized world are in trouble.
• Technology makes everything harder and easier at the same time.
What stood out for you?
6 months ago