Phi Beta Cons

Slow-Going for Journalism Schools Reform

George and John have drawn attention to Jonathan Last’s critique of the process/theory/craft orientation of today’s schools of journalism–as opposed to a knowledge-rich approach.

 

But don’t overlook the entrenchment of these pedagogies in our 450 or so journalism and mass-communication programs which, like their teacher education counterparts, have taken on a life of their own because they provide jobs for process-minded academics and others (such as textbook publishers). 

 

Those who teach “Women in the Media” and “The Deadline in Depth” will, in their own self-interest, fiercely resist the mainstreaming of journalist students into philosophy and economics departments or even a shift toward substance within journalism departments. 

Governing boards should be conducting a quality/cost-benefit evaluation of such programs, but few have the nerve to stand up to wrathful interest groups. Before the J- and other knowledge-averse schools are closed down or reformed, the current financial crisis in higher education will probably have to worsen, triggering the elimination of redundant, frivolous, or faulty programs (like journalism). But then, maybe the forces that put process above knowledge will carry the day, and economics and philosophy will be deemed expendable.

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