Recent conversation among journalism students:
- “I don’t want to do the online thing.”
- “I don’t need to learn to edit, I just want to write.”
- “As an online journalist, I can just write, right?”
Wrong. Sorry kids, but you can’t relive the days of portable typewriters, smoky newsrooms, digging through piles of paper records, midnight deadlines.
To avoid journalistic “siberia,” you’d better be able to think and work online, in various media, and edit your own work. You also have to be able to do it all fast.
In short, you’re more likely to end up like Adam Penenberg than Hunter Thompson.
It never fails to frustrate me to see students stuck on a life that can no longer exist. YOU spend more time on Facebook than reading the newspaper, what makes you think your audience is much different?
Teachers: Yes, it is important that students learn how to write, edit and present stories. That is the basis of all this, after all. But students also need to learn to think of their stories in 3-D. Their work will no longer be “just” a print article, but a multi-faceted package. And we need to learn to think that way.