Journalism should be learned by all communication students

“Journalism should be learned by all communication students. This is more important than ever because the new technology allows everyone to act as journalists.” This is a remark by Eric Newton, senior adviser to the President at Knight Foundation, during his keynote address May 11 at a national conference of journalism educators, “Journalism Education in the Digital Age.”

I cannot agree more with this statement – and I want to emphasize that the “journalism” here should inherently include multimedia journalism expertise.

Here’s why – in Newton’s words:

The digital age is the most profound development since movable metal type brought the age of mass communication. It is changing everything – who a journalist is, what a story is, which media should be used for which news, and how we engage with communities, the people formerly known as the audience.

During my research of journalism programs for the map of multimedia journalism degree programs in U.S. and Canada, from time to time, I could not help asking myself: how could a “pure” communication major succeed in a communication profession without learning anything about the new digital reality and expertise – those offered as multimedia or multiplatform journalism?

Fundamental changes are needed in the education of journalism and mass communication – start with the name of “School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” which can be found at many universities. In Newton’s view, the name is wrong:

We are in the age of digital communication, which is computerized, two-way and networked. The previous age, mass communication, was industrial, one-way and siloed. You are named the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. How about saying digital communication?

You many want to check out the complete speech by Eric Newton, which is titled “Journalism education reform: How far should it go?

About Mu Lin

Dr. Mu Lin is a digital journalism professional and educator in New Jersey, United States. Dr. Lin manages an online marketing company. He also manages MulinBlog Online J-School (, a free online journalism training program, which offers courses such as Audio Slideshow Storytelling; Introduction to Social Media Marketing; Writing for the Web; Google Mapping for Communicators; Introduction to Data Visualization; Introduction to Web Metrics and Google Analytics.
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