Next Tuesday, I will graduate with a master’s of science degree in digital media from the prestigious Columbia University Journalism School. As I graduate, I have gained skills in reporting, video production, audio, editing, Flash, Web development (including five different websites), design and almost every other fundamental and new skill journalists need today. But one thing I still see missing from journalism schools around the country is coursework on community engagement. The philosophy behind the walls of many schools is still “we produce content, you come to us to consume.”
At Columbia, the faculty quickly recognized the importance of this and this year started offering “Social Media Skills for Journalists” taught by my professor and dean of student affairs Sree Sreenivasan. It’s a great start and is teaching students to engage the audience like never before.
However, there are three components I think that are still largely missing from most journalism curricula today that could help in user engagement: learning the social media tools available for journalists to engage the audience, an understanding of what it means to cultivate community, and lastly a negative stigma to the use of data and analytics.