Wednesday, January 16, 2008


A couple of days ago I came across a blog posting by Paul Conley, a journalism mentor and media strategist for publishers and nonprofits, stating that employers should stop offering training in online journalism to their staff. Interesting...

He argues that the web is a culture and you cannot train someone to be part of a culture and although this is in regards to B2B publishers, I wanted to apply it to a much broader demographic: students--like me.

I agree with Conley that the web is a culture but not that "it's a waste of time and money to teach multimedia skills and technology to someone who hasn't already become part of the Web." Or that "there's no need to teach skills and technology to the journalists who are already part of Web culture, because the culture requires participation in skills and technology."

Take me for instance. I'm as technologically impaired as they come and I've managed to avoid anything more than checking my email, using Google and of course, checking the social networking site, Facebook despite growing up with the Internet. But as I get ready to launch my journalism career, whether it be in print (a loosely used term now that everything is online and print circulations are on the decline) or public relations (which I've been dabbling in over the past year) I'd like to think that I'm not a lost cause just because I haven't become completely immersed in the big black hole known as the World Wide Web.

No matter what career path I choose, new media has become and will continue to be an essential part of what I do. That is why I signed up for Professor Dan Kennedy's course, "Reinventing the News: Journalism of the Web."

Frankly, my blood pressure rose as I found out I would need to keep a blog (the very one you're reading now) and it's still a little high even after I've started my first post.

But, I wouldn't say it's too late to teach me the web-savvy skills I've somehow steered clear of for so long. Dan Gillmor from the Center for Citizen Media feels the same, emphasizing the importance of journalists learning new tactics.

While I may not be employed full-time (yet) I think it can only be helpful for journalists to be trained in online journalism or at least exposed to the issues that new media is bringing forth. That's what this class is for me. Nobody can teach me to be part of a culture but I am involved in it (even if it is minimally) and I guess it's time that I jump in a little further.

I'm up for the challenge.

Welcome to my blog.

1 comment:

Paul Conley said...

Hi Stacey,
Welcome to the world of blogging. I'm flattered that I played a role in your first post. However, I'd like to clarify something. You're right -- I don't believe that publishers should be paying to train journalists for the Web. Understanding how journalism works online is a required skill for today's reporters and editors. And I have no tolerance left in 2008 for professionals who haven't taken the time to learn these skills.
But I feel very differently about journalism students. And I've worked very hard these past few years to ensure that journalism students are trained for the Web. I've put in a lot of hours with College Media Advisers and other groups -- on a volunteer basis -- to let teachers and students know what we in the industry need from the next crop of journalists.
If you're interested, some of my thoughts on this can be found here:
Consider yourself lucky to have a teacher like Dan Kennedy. I assure you, thousands of your peers are being taught by people who don't have a clue what journalism looks like in today's world.