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Are college journalists ready for digital age?

July 28, 2006

Are college journalists, or even journalism teachers, ready for the digital age? Apparently not, according to Leonard Witt, president of the Public Journalism Network:

Yesterday I gave a talk to some 50 college student newspaper editors and managers about Reinventing Newspapers. Most had not heard of citizen journalism projects like OhmyNews, Northwest Voice or MyMissourian. The editors, from small colleges to major universities, were at the annual Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors hosted by Cox Institute for Newspaper Management Studies at the University of Georgia’s Grady College.

I would say their colleges, journalism schools, communication departments and advisors have some catching up to do. These are tomorrow’s newsroom leaders. They are not under the gun because one advisor told me that college newspapers are doing incredibly well. They are free. They have a captive audience.

I’ve got to admit, I’ve not heard of some of those projects either and have not introduced my students to them. And I think I’m further along than many advisers when it comes to online journalism. Yikes!

So, why should students get serious about online journalism? Aside from the obvious that it is becoming a bigger part of the industry, that’s where the money is going. This last year online editors were among those who got the greatest pay increases.

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