Matching J-school programs to newsroom needs

May 13, 2015 01:30

A new study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examines the skills being taught at journalism schools, and measures perceptions about how prepared J-school students are to enter the workplace. Associate Professor Barney McCoy from UNL's College of Journalism and Mass Communication developed a national survey of journalism educators and professionals, which found some common ground, and some gaps in expectations. RTDNA had invited its members and readers to participate.

Among the key findings, educators and professionals identified accuracy, ethical principles and good news judgment as top skills. However, there were significant differences over how well college grads are prepared for journalism careers and the perceived importance of digital reporting skills.

Respondents were asked to rate the relative importance of various journalistic skills, to gauge to what degree students possessed those skills and rate whether journalism schools are doing a good job preparing students to work in newsrooms. About 44 percent agreed that J-schools were doing a good job and about 17 percent disagreed, with significantly more educators than news managers believing students were prepared.

Among the other findings, most agreed that internships lead to better hiring opportunities, that English, history and political science are good classes to take to supplement journalism courses, and that social media skills are important.

You can read the full article as published in the April issue of the Journal of Media Education here.