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Educating the Next Generation of Journalists

Posted by Emily Reinbott on September 11, 2008

I was really looking forward to this session because I AM THE NEXT GENERATION these speakers were going to be talking about.  Both Paris and Spain were represented as they talked about their respective colleges and their journalism programs.  The main topic was how do we keep up with our audience who are now looking at more digital styled media.  This question led to how do we educate our new journalists that have to deal with the changing audience.

After hearing from both La Porte, the representative from the University of Navarra School of Communication in Pamplona, Spain, and Jean-Francais, representing Sciences Po in Paris, France, about their journalism programs and worries, the University’s Dean Mills gave the “American Reaction”.  It still amazes me that I am able to sit in one of the best institutions for journalism and that America’s voice can be given to one of our own in Columbia, MIssouri but this is exactly what happened.  Dean Mills expressed the same concerns as his foreign colleagues: how to move with a changing audience.  His answer: the building we were currently sitting in, the Reynolds Journalism Institute.  More specifically, the room we were sitting in was also a part of the answer.

Looking around, you would think the room was off a drama involving world leaders or something of the sort.  Nearly everyone sat at two rows of tables that created a three-quarters circle and at the top of the circle was one table where the panel sat.  It wasn’t only the lay out of the room that gave me this impression but also the people watching and listening intently to the speakers.  There were people from all around the world, male and female, young and not so young.  “This room symbolizes the intellectual soul” of the Reynolds Institute, said Dean Mills.  The Reynolds Institute is charged with figuring out the changing world of journalism and this means reaching out internationally.  “Today is just the beginning,” replied a hopeful Mills.

I was very moved as I watched these important journalist talk about MY generation.  They aren’t worried about their own job security but that of mine and my future colleagues.  Their careers are stable whereas mine hasn’t even started and they’re already worried about my success.  Well, truthfully, I guess they are a little concerned with reaching out to the public.  That is the goal of most every journalist, hopefully.

This wasn’t a discussion about how to make more money or how to gain more success.  It was quite simple really.  How do we, as teachers, prepare our students for an uncertain future?  We just have to hope that these incredibly intelligent people are right.


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