Revitalizing Journalism Education

A national initiative led by five of America's leading research universities with the support of two major foundations will advance the U.S. news business by helping revitalize schools of journalism.

The universities will take advantage of the riches of their institutions by integrating the schools of journalism more closely with the entire campus in an effort to better teach, challenge and prepare the next generation of news industry leaders for an increasingly complex world. The initiative will experiment with curriculum and hands-on experience with the hope of creating a national conversation with other schools across the country.

The Carnegie-Knight Initiative involves three distinct efforts:

  1. Curriculum Enrichment that will integrate the schools of journalism more deeply into the life of the university.
  2. News21 Incubators: annual national investigative reporting projects overseen by campus professors and distributed nationally through both traditional and innovative media.
  3. The Carnegie-Knight Task Force, focusing on research and creating a platform for educators to speak on policy and journalism education issues.

At a time when technology's digital revolution is changing the news industry, the Carnegie-Knight Initiative will focus on preparing future media leaders to be analytic thinkers, clear writers and communicators, armed with an in-depth understanding of the context and complexity of issues facing the modern world.

A study prepared pro bono at the request of Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian by McKinsey & Co. interviewed 40 of the country's most prestigious news leader who indicated a need for change in the way journalists are educating. The news leaders challenged schools of journalism to help reporters build specialized expertise that will enhance coverage of complex beats ranging from medicine to economics to international conflicts, and to understand the languages and cultures of distant parts of the world.

The report, undertaken for the Corporation by McKinsey & Co., also revealed a desire for journalism schools to help students understand and appreciate the ethical dimensions of their work as well as prepare them for the pressures they will face in a 24/7 competitive news environment. The news leaders voiced a need for the profession to depend on universities to channel the best writers, the most curious-minded reporters and the finest analytic thinkers to the news business. An executive summary is available at www.carnegie.org and www.knightfdn.org.

V. Gregorian"Will this changing world still include journalism that satisfies democracy’s basic needs?" said Alberto Ibargüen, President of the
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. "Will great journalists still hold true to Jack Knight’s vision of journalism that “bestirs the people…and rouses them to pursue their true interests”? What news organizations will emerge in the 21st century to do what Jack and Jim Knight’s newspapers did for American communities in the 20th? Those newspapers helped define the communities we lived in by sharing events that happened to neighbors, by defining the problems and possibilities, and by connecting people with a shared language and a sense of place. "

Alberto Ibuergen"Journalism is too important to this nation and our democracy to have the schools that educate its future leaders be anything but central to the universities in which they reside," said Vartan Gregorian, President of Carnegie Corporation of New York. "Our American universities, which offer the most enriching, challenging and academically excellent higher education in the world, can provide journalism schools with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with ideas about subjects such as history, philosophy, economics and culture that will help their students develop a passion for learning and knowledge along with the exemplary skills they will need to be at the forefront of the journalism profession in the 21st century."

As part of the planning for the initiative, the five participating deans drafted a vision for change that seeks to renew the mission of schools of journalism much the same way that schools of business, medicine and law have renewed themselves at different junctures in history. The "deans' manifesto" clarifies goals for today's schools of journalism and focuses on the centrality of the university in the preparation of tomorrow's journalism leaders.

In the summer of 2005, as part of this five-university journalism education launch, Carnegie Corporation sponsored an ABC News Summer Institute that involved 10 students—two from each of the universities involved. The students had eight-week fellowships under the guidance of ABC News and worked with the award-winning ABC News Investigative Unit on a specific project that took advantage of the students' experience, learning and research abilities.

The Vision | Curriculum | The Participants

 

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