By Ilina Ghosh, for the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre
The future of journalism education is the focus of a new collection of essays just published by the Ryerson Journalism Research Centre.
As waves of change transform the news industry, the papers in Toward 2020: New Directions in Journalism Education grapple with where journalism education should go from here and concludes it needs to change substantially and quickly, says Ryerson University journalism professor Gene Allen.
“I think in the past, if you had been a journalist for 20 years, then you would come and teach kids what you had done in the newsroom and that made sense for a long time because the profession was very stable,” said Allen, who edited the publication along with University of Illinois associate journalism professor Stephanie Craft, University of British Columbia associate journalism professor Mary Lynn Young and Carleton University associate journalism professor Christopher Waddell.
Those days, Allen notes, are gone: “Now that things are changing so fast, a lot of people who teach journalism, who spent a long time as working journalists, are realizing that their own experiences as professional journalists are an important foundation, but not the only thing they need to teach.
“If I came into a classroom and started teaching like it was 1985, that wouldn’t be very useful,” Allen said.
The 12 essays in Toward 2020 are based on presentations delivered at a conference held at Ryerson University last year. More than 100 journalism educators from Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia attended the event and the papers represent a cross-section of the ideas discussed.
“Most of the essays operated on a conceptual level, that we [as journalism educators] generally need to rethink what we’re doing and rethink what journalism is,” Allen said.