Sunday, April 19, 2009

Journalism Schools Play Catchup


April 19, 2009
J-Schools Play Catchup

In his second month as a professor at Arizona State University, Tim McGuire was standing in front of 13 students teaching “The Business of Journalism” when his inner voice interrupted. “You dummy,” he recalls thinking, “you are teaching a history course.” It was fall 2006, and he was talking about the production of a daily newspaper, but not about the parallel production of a 24-hour-a-day Web site. He was explaining the collapse of the print classified advertising market, but not the striking success of Google search advertisements.

The course, new to the curriculum, was in desperate need of a revision already. Mr. McGuire, a 23-year veteran of The Star Tribune in Minneapolis, was in need of a re-­education himself.

“I knew what I knew until I realized there was an earthquake underfoot,” he says. He immersed himself in Internet business models. He started a blog. The course was renamed “The Business and Future of Journalism.” He quickly learned that today’s journalism students don’t enroll to hear, in Mr. McGuire’s words, “old newspaper farts telling them that the business is doomed.”

“They know the model is broken,” he says. “They think, We’ll just have to fix it.” And so he started this semester by outlining an intimidating theme for the course: “How do we pay for journalism?”

Right now, there may be no other field of education where “I don’t know” is spoken so often.

read the story here

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