I can easily say that during my freshman year there was one concept that was beaten into my mind nearly every day for a solid nine months: the era of the multimedia journalist is upon us.
After an entire year of hearing the ins and outs of the decline of the traditional journalism industry from Cronkite professors and professional journalists alike, you would think some of us would be discouraged as we continue preparing for a field where you hear about people being laid off left and right.
And some of you might be nervous about graduating into an economy that might not be ready to provide you with a decent job as a reporter for a news publication or broadcast station.
But I’m not nervous or scared, I’m curious. Curious as to why when we are being told by experts that journalism is making the transition to online media there is a distinct specialization for digital journalism that is separate from print and broadcast.
If print and broadcast journalism are progressively improving their connections to online media and putting more emphasis into being a multi-media journalist, rather than simply a journalist with a particular specialty, shouldn’t our education revolve around that notion as well?
I understand that online media has been incorporated to a certain extent into the print and broadcast journalism tracks, and it is required that students take a certain number of JMC electives, but what I don’t understand is why, at this point, different tracks are available for print, broadcast and digital journalism.
Is it realistic to think as a print journalism major that after I graduate I’ll start working for a newspaper or magazine and not be expected to contribute to online media in the form of audio or video? Similarly, is it possible that in this era of journalism broadcast students will be hired to only work with video and audio pieces? I highly doubt it.
The age of the multi-media journalist is gradually becoming more and more apparent, and once it has been firmly established it will be here to stay.
By the time we graduate, we better be proficient in everything if we want to find a job in an industry where even seasoned veterans are being picked off one by one. Journalism students can’t expect to pick print or broadcast over digital journalism and think that’s the end of it, so that’s how our education should be handled. Why tempt us with the digital option if we all know that’s where we will end up anyway?
The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication should offer two tracks: journalism and public relations, which is in a completely different ballpark.
This way, journalism students will be completely prepared for the future of the industry. It should be required to be a well-rounded journalist with the combined skills of a writer, photographer, broadcaster and producer.
The bottom line is that not only do I want to be able to do it all by the time I graduate, but I want to do it well.
If it isn’t already, this should be the mentality of all Cronkite students in order to become effective and successful journalists.
Contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org