By Cindy Royal, Assistant Professor,
Texas State University in San Marcos
The AEJMC conference in Boston offered many of the benefits I always enjoy and appreciate at the annual gathering: seeing old friends, networking with colleagues, meeting people with whom I have been communicating online and learning about research and teaching trends. But, the conference took a different tone this outing, as there was much discussion (both online and offline, in the sessions and in the hallways) of journalism professors being out of touch with the realities of online media and the digital economy (see Guy Berger’s MediaShift post “Two Recent J-Education Conferences Show Resistance to Change”). Criticisms included: questions and issues being addressed in sessions were outdated; research topics were tedious and mired in minutia; some social media applications, like Twitter, were viewed with disdain and condescension; and a general lack of understanding of the challenges and needs of the industries we support. As a profession, we have many big questions to answer, at such a critical time, that it has to be our responsibility as educators to assist in developing innovative solutions and drive the conversation.
It is exceedingly important that journalism as an educational and scholarly discipline embraces the new media environment and helps lead our graduates to enter their chosen fields with a spirit of innovation and the ability to influence direction. We often get wrapped up in the skills we teach. Should students learn HTML, video editing, Flash? Should they use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube? [Read more...]