Is Journalism Over?

The ramblings of a professor of journalism and its critical flip side, communication, this blog will focus on the basics we teach our students, why we teach them, and whether there’s any point to it any more. It will also explore “new media” – in particular, the idea of blogging, the use of blogs and the possibility that blogging is, or can be, journalism.

Just to get some definitions clear (Hey, I’m an academic, I must begin with definitions!), when communication is spelled with an “s” at the end, it means marketing-and-public-relations-type stuff. I don’t do that. Many fine people do, but I tend to see it as self-serving propaganda, which is the typical journalist’s view of the so-called “dark side.” I’m interested in communication without an “s” – it means a critical approach to media analysis. I call myself a critical media scholar, but I’m also a former journalist for a daily newspaper, a news junkie who loves the profession and sees it as indispensable to democracy.

So in response to the title of this blog, no, I hope and pray that journalism is not over but I’m not totally sure, for various reasons. Not all these reasons are related to the so-called demise of newspapers and network television that seems to be underway but could reverse itself if they just smarten up and get with the Internet. They do seem to be doing this, actually, so there is hope!

Many things assault journalism today. Journalism is always under assault. Someday it could die. In some countries it is basically dead today. But somehow, it seems to survive, revive, even thrive in some places. Let’s explore why, and how we instill in young people the desire – hey, the passion, ’cause they’re going to need that – to will it, like Tinkerbell, to survive.

This blog will document teaching experiences at a liberal arts college. My students’ and colleagues’ real names and identities will be protected. If you see a name in here, count on it, it’s a pseudonym. Also, because there are not enough hours in the day, week or year to actually do everything a tenure-track academic must do, I’m not going to promise a set schedule for entries into this blog. However, I often find myself learning things about teaching, students and media that I want to share. If I can dash off a blog post about it, perhaps someone else can benefit, and comments from others can bring me additional insights. I look forward to the interactivity of the blog, and to the task I’ve taken on: making the case that this is, or at least can be, a legitimate new form of journalism.

Thanks for listening.

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About Carrie Buchanan

Journalism and communication professor, Canadian, now living and teaching in the United States. Longtime journalist in Canada, primarily for the Ottawa Citizen.
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