Should journalism students be required to blog?
These days, with media convulsively changing, who knows what medium future journalists will use to report the day’s events. I’m a journalism professor, and I don’t. Newsweek, the iconic American news weekly magazine, isn’t available on dried wood pulp, anymore. One of the most prominent “newspapers” is the Huffington Post, which isn’t a news “paper” at all.
So it seems reasonable to assume that writing for the web is an important skill.
That’s my rationale for having journalism students blog. That case against?
Blogging is usually emotional, and personal. Journalism, while it involves and is motivation by emotions, should be neither.
The invitation to blog is an license to opine—and the instinct to opine is exactly what journalism students need to get over. If you’re doing a good job reporting the story for a credible news outlet, nobody should know your personal opinion at the end.
Which means, maybe, that you ought not blog about it since blogs are all about personal opinion.
Still, I think the upside far outweighs the down. Blogging means that students have a public url that exposes the world to their writing, but also means that they become more aware of the “blogosphere,” that odd zone that all reporters need to be aware of. It also gets them, if it works, into the habit of regularly originating and executing their own ideas.
Anyway, my Introduction to Journalism students this semester are even now busily typing away on their first blog posts (or updates for those who already blog). Another semester has begun at MMU.
I have a larger-than-usual class this semester, which, to be honest, feels great. Introduction to Journalism is a writing course that any student of any major would benefit from, since it involves bottom-line, clear writing that is more professional than writing done in many other courses.
What will their blogs bring? I can’t wait to find out.