Posted on : 08-16-2009 | By : Vadim Lavrusik | In : Business, Higher Education
The title says it all. Today, I start classes at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. And after reading Patrick Thornton’s post on being honest about journalism school and its worth, I started thinking about what I think is missing at many journalism schools today: partnerships with the universities’ business schools.
Thornton talks about how to best acquire necessary journalism skills and why folks shouldn’t go to journalism schools, as well as some mentions of journalism school curricula that are working (Extended Note: Thornton seems to have something against Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, which is where I am currently studying and cites its curriculum as outdated – though it isn’t quite clear why because the opposing examples he provides – one being NYU’s Studio 20 – aren’t much different than the options available at Columbia’s j-school, such as the workshop Nightly News. I think graduate programs in journalism are still valuable in gaining skills, and personally for me, helpful in having M.S. credentials to hopefully teach journalism one day). Anyway, the point is something is missing at many journalism schools that should be available at all. Thornton gets this right:
Here is the rub: If you’re going to attend a journalism program — especially a graduate program — you want to be in a program that will teach you how to start your own projects and be entrepreneurial. You want a program that realizes that the (social) Web is the present and future of journalism.
One thing that schools like CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism have it right is a curriculum that includes an entrepreneurial program as well as The Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Comm at ASU and Medill’s Graduate Journalism Innovations Projects. These are just a few example. But a partnership for journalism students to work together with business school students on websites that provide engaging and quality content but at the same time experiment in creating online revenue models that work should be available at all journalism schools.
In fact, I think it should be available as a specialization track at journalism schools. Though journalism schools have been implementing entrepreneurial and innovations elements into their curricula, one class or projects on the subject is not enough to fully experience what it would take to create a successful startup. Most journalism schools have figured out the need for teaching students essential web skills, and in many cases learning how to start a website and produce content for it in various ways. However, learning how to make that website profitable is just as important.