My college, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will soon take a major step forward in training student journalists.
Our faculty have tentatively approved curriculum changes that will dramatically refocus student-produced class content and vertically integrate it on the college’s NewsNetNebraska Web site.
During the past eight years, CoJMC has been a national leader in training students in classes offering online journalism. The new, proposed curriculum shift places a deeper, more thorough emphasis on awareness, understanding and application of online journalism skills and the training begins in the freshman year.
What does this mean?
For starters, journalism students in most classes will receive on-going online content training. This will supplement the traditional core journalism values and skills they’re already learning in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
More specifically, news/editorial, broadcast news and production majors along with advertising majors will increasingly play active roles in learning how to produce and publish content on the Web.
Stories CoJMC students write, photographs, advertising, marketing campaigns, video news reports and documentaries will be produced by hundreds of CoJMC students for the NewsNetNebraska Web site.
The changes are exciting, challenging and necessary.
Not surprisingly, the proposed curriculum shifts come at a time when traditional newspaper and broadcast institutions are experiencing dramatic income and audience declines.
In his media blog this week, Frank Beacham notes:
Established media is collapsing before our eyes. The Cox news bureau in Washington, with 30 staffers, is shutting down. It publishes The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Austin American-Statesman and about 15 other newspapers. Advance Publications, parent of The Star-Ledger of Newark, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland and others, has also shut down its Washington bureau. Twenty people were fired.
It goes on and on. The San Diego Union-Tribune recently closed its Washington bureau, letting go four people. Its parent company, Copley Press, once had an 11-person bureau in Washington. That’s just the beginning.
Most agree on one point: That multi-tasking journalism skills are the norm, not the exception for working journalists and communicators today.
Most newspapers, networks, magazines, radio stations and television stations are increasingly producing online content as they seek ways to vertically integrate content across print, broadcast and online venues.
They’re doing this to produce new income streams to replace traditional ones that have declined over the past decade.
They’re also doing this to reach growing audiences that are increasingly turning to the Internet for information.
Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.