How to learn journalism

I get my news the old-fashioned way. I have the New York Times website bookmarked, and when I want to learn about the news, I browse this site. I trust the Times; I find its content relevant; and it is easy to use. Many people, however, use Google to find the news they want. They conduct a search for content they care about; read/view the material; and then conduct another search. But others, particularly young people, use a social network such as Facebook to find interesting news. If a “friend” recommends a news item, they click on it. The brand of the journalism site is less important, as is the relevance of the news topic; what is important is that their circle of friends recommended a particular news item.

If this trend continues, how will journalists react? How will journalism schools react? An obvious response is that reporters, editors and professors will increasingly appreciate the journalistic potential of social media. Blogs will become even more common, and bloggers will market their content through social media. Maybe Facebook users (who must include half the people who use the Internet) may see more news and fewer status updates and photos of youth holding beers and smiling into the camera.

But are blogs “journalism?” If I (or you) report and write for a blog, then are we doing Journalism? I say, “yes.” We doing very local, very interactive journalism. In fact, when (occasionally) high school and college students ask me how they can prepare for a career in journalism, I suggest that they create a blog and write for it everyday. Imagine an audience, and write to that audience. Produce photos and videos too. Take risks; make mistakes. Ask for feedback. That’s how we learn.


About keithrkenney
Keith Kenney is a professor of visual communication at the University of South Carolina. He is living in Tbilisi, Georgia, for a year. This blog is about several topics. "CSJMM-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the Caucasus School of Journalism and Media Management in Tbilisi, Georgia. "USC-Journalism" is about the students, faculty and staff members of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications (SJMC) at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. CSJMM and SJMC are recipients of a "Journalism School Partnership" program grant from the US Department of State. The purpose of this $750,000 grant is to improve CSJMM and ensure its sustainability. "Tbilisi, Georgia" is about Susanna Melo and my experiences in Tbilisi. "Columbia, SC" will be about our experiences in our home town--Columbia--when we return home. "Georgia" is about Susanna and my experiences when we travel in Georgia outside of Tbilisi. "United States" is about our experiences traveling in the US. "Films and Photography" is about two documentary films I'm working on in Georgia. One story follows how Adishi handles the rapid tourism that is being developed in Svaneti. The other story follows Tamaz Jalagania, who is a craftsman of swords and guns, an opera singer, and an extraordinary storyteller. "Scholarship" is about my current books, articles, reviews, and grants.

One Response to How to learn journalism

  1. I love the idea of getting those who believe they’d like a career in journalism to write a blog for a particular audience. Great career advice.

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