Networked Journalism Education

Archive for the ‘Ethics’ Category

‘It’s about creating a future’

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Mark Lee Hunter, an investigative journalist, researcher and adjunct professor at the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre in Paris, is giving a keynote presentation this week to the European Journalism Training Association in Paris.

The following are excerpts from an interview with Mark Lee Hunter about journalism education posted on the European Journalism Centre web site:

Kathlyn Clore, EJC: In the recent INSEAD working paper you co-authored on Disruptive News Technologies: Stakeholder Media ad the Future of Watchdog Journalism Business Models, you write, “with the exception of Norway, every European Union country is graduating approximately twice as many reporters from journalism schools as can be hired by the industry.”

What shifts do journalism educators need to make in order to better equip students to work for stakeholder media (rather than news media) which are indeed on the rise and likely employers for journalism school graduates?

Hunter: It means we have to think hard about ethics and methods. It also means we have to train them in entrepreneurialism and partnership skills. We also need to train them to understand how to collect, organise and mine data. It is not just about reporting and writing anymore. It’s about creating a future. The fundamental issue is that the news industry as presently composed will not provide a future for enough of our students.

EJC: In your working paper, you write about a shift in priorities, from “project focus to business development.” How can journalism educators help facilitate this shift?

Hunter: More strategic analysis: where are we going with this material? What are its future uses? How do we capture them?

EJC: You write in the working paper, “we have assumed that great content will solve our problems. It has not done so and it will not do so, because the historic and primary market for that content, the news industry, is in decline.”

Where does this leave journalism students or younger reporters who are enthusiastic about their work? Is the old maxim “content is king” no longer true?

EJC: No. I meant that content alone will not solve the problem if we think of content only as making one great story. We have to think beyond “this” story. We have to think about where we are going to be and what we will talk about in 10 years.

Written by Donica

May 19th, 2010 at 4:06 am

A “great reboot” for news organizations

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Umair Haque has a Harvard Business Review post on “Google, China, and the New High Ground of Advantage” today that continues his theme on new capitalism. It’s made me think about how news organizations of the future can build on the high ground that Umair describes:

The old high ground was built for 20th century economics: sell more junk, earn more profit, “grow” — and then crash. An ethical edge operates at a higher economic level. It is concerned with what we sell, how profits are earned, and which authentic, human benefits “grow.” It’s a concept built for the economics of an interdependent world.

I could never understand how large scale news capitalists could sustain a business model that treated reporters like hamsters (as a Gannett reporter friend used to describe it) while funding lavish corporate expenditures. That’s a stereotype of course, and there were many exceptions, but in large part, ours was an industry that expended little energy on building the human capital of newsrooms and a great deal of energy on building the financial capital of corporate investors.

In this frustrating transition from the large corporate newsrooms of the 20th century to the smaller new organization of the future, we can’t just downside what we have. We have to start from fundamentally different premises:

It’s time for a great reboot. Today’s great challenge isn’t blindly building countries, companies, or households on a broken set of institutions. It is reimagining new institutions for a hyperconnected world. Answering that challenge begins, from my tiny perspective, with an ethical edge as the cornerstone of every kind of organization. Seeking an ethical edge is the truest test of a Constructive Capitalist.

The ethics he describes aren’t the rights-focused narrow conception of ethics taught in many j-schools today. It’s an ethics that encompasses the entire organization — not just reporters and editors, but publishers, human resource managers, community journalists and all of the organization’s participants — and places the entire organization within the context of the community in which it operates. This is not impractical. It’s the path to the economic and social future for sustainable news organizations. J-schools need to be one place that forge and build this new vision for journalists and their emerging new organizations.

Written by Donica

January 16th, 2010 at 7:32 am