Non-reading future journalists
We all like to lament how our students don't read, especially newspapers. A column by Laura Berman of the Detroit News puts a new spin on that, however -- budding columnists who don't read even the columns.
Berman relates from a classroom at the University of Michigan-Dearborn:
"My generation is very visually oriented," explains Ryan Schreiber, a U-M Dearborn junior from Dearborn who -- like most in the class -- is majoring in journalism but doesn't read much of it.The kicker, however, is Berman's observation:
"My generation grew up watching MTV. We are used to short spurts of words, lots of images...We're used to immediate gratification." He points out that columns like this one are blocks of text, decorated only with a thumbnail photo and a headline. No dancing images, no colorful pop-ups, no audio. Words on paper. Blah.
What's intriguing is that these kids say they plan to write for newspapers and magazines. They're planning journalism careers. They're dreaming of careers creating products nobody they know uses much.What happens when they get there and find out it isn't so?
But Schreiber's generation has seen enough movies and TV shows that depicted enough exciting newsroom scenes to make journalism seem enticing, even glamorous.
Will they make up the glitz? Were Jayson Blair et al. the first wave of this?
Yet another ethics discussion.
And while we're at it, a depressing story from USA Today Weekend about how relatively little high school students value the First Amendment. Among the stats: 36 percent think newspapers should have government approval to publish.