Jay Rosen posted a link on Twitter today with the article “You’ve got to know what you stand for to survive in journalism online” by Robert Niles. Niles, from the Knight Digital Media Center, covers a number of topics in his article, but one point I found particularly interesting was his assertion that a degree in journalism is no longer enough. Niles points out that, as more and more lay-offs take place at traditional news organizations, the number of times a story is edited before being published decreases, increasing the likelihood that an inaccurate story will be published. Niles says that up-and-coming journalists need to have an additional degree, or extensive experience in covering a specific beat, to maintain traditional journalistic values.
We now need writers who have more practical expertise and academic training in the beats that they will cover, so they can take more responsibility for the accuracy of their work, without editing assistance. It’s not enough for aspiring journalists to study how to craft a story – they must bring also a passion for and training in a beat to cover. Newsrooms can’t expect j-school graduates with one 200-level econ course to their credit to be able to attract an audience covering the business beat when they are competing with bloggers who have PhDs in economics, or years of industry experience.
Niles covers a lot of ground in this article on a variety of online journalism issues. I suggest you check out the whole article.