And a new semester is upon us.

I stumbled upon this blog post at Media Shift recently.  The author, a professor at the University of Canberra in Australia makes a strong case for journalism schools leading the way in the digital revolution.  This was one of the running themes at the ICONN conference I attended at the University of Tennessee  over break.  It was  inspiring to see how many instructors out there agree that journalism schools should be the place for experimentation, innovation and creation.

Some good stuff from the author, including this:

But students pursuing journalism degrees demand to be taught the professional skills that will get them hired. And while they may enroll in traditional journalism courses which are still often segregated into “print” and “broadcast,” the industry demands that they emerge with a set of generic skills suitable for a digital newsroom — such as an ability to incorporate audio and visual elements into multimedia productions — in addition to specialist skills in one or two traditional areas and an understanding of the changing nature of the industry.

This reality means it’s incumbent upon all journalism academics to now engage intellectually with these changes and develop skills in digital media practice — it’s no longer exclusively multimedia/digital journalism/new media academics who must undertake this work.

In other academic fields, it’s cutting-edge research that drives industry change, not the other way around. In a perfect world, journalism educators would not lag behind industry, but rather would be setting the pace for educational change in response to digital transformations. This would require keeping abreast of the dramatic changes affecting industry and enhancing traditional journalism courses through the integration of platforms, which are both easy to use and increasingly driving the news consumption habits of our students.