About ten days ago, I started writing a blog post about my updated thoughts on recent J-School grads and what skills I think aspiring journalists should be acquiring.
I promise I’ll finish that badboy soon (mostly because I’ve already got a ton of work in it), but I wanted to comment on a somewhat related post that I saw this morning on PJNet. I encourage you all to read that post.
A lot of what I’m blogging about today I also sent in an e-mail to Leonard Witt at PJNet.
My message to young journalists hasn’t changed in years:
Be able to write and report your ass off, and have a great mindset when it comes to how we might need to tell those stories — regardless of the current technology or methods of distribution. I believe in my heart that the key to being a successful journalist now (and in 25 years) will rest in a reporter’s ability to write well.
I would encourage you to read this old post I wrote earlier this year, which is basically an answer to an e-mail question Bryan Murley sent requesting thoughts for collegiate journalists for a piece on Murley’s great “Innovation in College Media” site.
I think you’ll see my message is quite strong about being very good at the core journalism skills:
“Know how to write. Know how to tell a story. Know how to conduct an interview. Know how to research your ass off.
“When you combine strong traditional journalism skills with a great mindset, youâ€™ve got a journalist whoâ€™s going to be fine regardless of what new things or technologies come our way.”
When a J-School that I worked very closely with a few years ago changed its curriculum to be more “converged,” the most distressing thing I noticed in the school’s students was a deficiency in basic writing and editing skills … and I wasn’t quiet about it.
My biggest problem with a lot of young journalists is that so many of them have the crappiest attitudes on the planet. So many of them are so close-minded that it’s shocking, especially if these folks represent the future of our industry.
To be honest, I’d love to give them all the writing test that all members of our new-media team have to take just to show them that they’re not nearly as hot as they think they are.
But let’s get back to the post on PJNet that started this ramble: I’m not really sure today’s journalists have to pitch and catch. I honestly don’t know.
My best guess is that it’s about them knowing how to do one of those things extremely well, and then understanding how important the other positions on the field are.
And that’s where most of them seem to fall flat.
My biggest question to J-Schools now is why are your students so dang close-minded? Where was that instilled, and what are you going to do to help them graduate with a degree and a mindset that will keep them employed as long as they want to be members of the Fourth Estate?
Well, I gotta go now. I’ll try to come back later today to look over this post again to make sure that I haven’t embarrassed myself too much.
Besides, the Jayhawks are on TV right now. Priorities.