Friday, May 15, 2009

I AM the Future of Journalism & Mass Communication Education

I AM the Future of Journalism and Mass Communication Education!

How is that for a statement of vanity?

As a journalism professor of six years who has been awarded tenure and promotion for the Fall 2009 semester, I am proud to associate myself with a line of work that is changing ever so rapidly.

I position myself as a example not because I'm the greatest teacher.

Instead, I say I’m the future of journalism because of my willingness to embrace the multimedia shift that has already happened in the nation’s newsrooms.

I say I’m the future of journalism because of my commitment to re-invent myself from a “word” person not concerned about technical production to a teacher who is increasingly (but not totally) comfortable teaching about production.

I understand that teaching in a constantly evolving field means one rarely gets "comfortable" before something changes or shifts. Then, there's a need to learn something new.

A blogger and a podcaster with my own YouTube channel, I taught such a production course this spring (2009) semester.

Digital Media production was the most challenging topic I’ve ever taught—because it took me out of my comfort zone. But, my fabulous students made it a blast!

Our site, Dateline Alabama, is alive and well. I even learned a lot about posting through a Content management system, powered by The Tuscaloosa News.

I had to rely on the tech people to teach me even as I taught my students. There were very few lectures from a Ph.D. who had all the answers.

As the future of journalism education, I know the expert professor (at least in this field) may find him or herself quickly becoming a relic of the past.

I say I’m the future of mass communication education because in 2009 I can see media management education as a kind of entrepreneurial media education.

I say I’m the future of mass communication education I’m capable and empowered to interact just as much with Ph.D. students as they prepare dissertations as I can middle and high school students being exposed to journalism for the first time.


As the author of the The Black Blogger’s Manifesto, I say I’m the future of mass communication education because of my active engagement online not only as a blogger, but also an African-American blogger who gives voice to a view that may not otherwise be shared in the blogosphere.

With a multicultural mindset and an understanding of both the profession of journalism and the academic study of mass communication, I realize my role now is to mentor others by sharing my experience with a new generation of student scholars already preparing themselves for roles in the college classroom.

These will be the journalism and mass communication educators who will follow me when I decide to move on from the classroom.

I, along with the dozens of my JMC colleagues who share my views about multimedia, multiculturalism and entrepreneurial media, am positioned for a media world filled with uncertainty.

As the media industries find their way in this new digital world, we will find ourselves flexible and ready for whatever twist or turn comes as we prepare forward-thinking mass media practitioners.

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