“Incubating innovation at journalism schools: with the online generation entering college, some key ingredients for new ways of practicing journalism are arriving with them.” by Dianne Lynch
Dianne Lynch is a journalism professor and this article is written from the perspective of an educator. The essential question dealt with is how should journalism schools adapt their curriculum to deal with this new generation of journalism students who “evolved in a virtual universe” (Lynch, 1). In analyzing this question, Lynch identifies four key characteristics of this new generation of journalists:
1. They are information junkies.
2. They are multitaskers.
3. They are bricoleurs (i.e. they adapt easily to new technology and find their own ways to use it)
4. They are masters of collaborative engagement, and understand how to tailor a message to a particular audience.
Lynch challenges the idea that this generation cannot distinguish credible from non-credible information, and states that they, in fact, “value truth and accuracy.” (Lynch 2). She is also critical of the current state of the journalism and journalism education professions, stating that they are not adapting well to the concept of “new media”.
Her suggestion to journalism schools is that they adapt new strategies that take advantage of the characteristics identified above. She suggests that students be given open-ended, unstructured, collaborative tasks to stimulate innovation. She gave her students a project with a brief instruction: “Create something new in the online travel market.” (Lynch 3). She claims that this project was very successful, but she provides no details about what was produced.
Her final conclusion is that journalism schools need to “nurture collaborative innovation [to produce] accurate, informative and interactive content – for every screen and every audience” (Lynch 3). She suggests that to do this, journalism schools will need to un-bundle themselves from the journalism industry and instead focus on the concept of collaborative knowledge production rather than authoritative content delivery.
Lynch’s arguments are fairly persuasive and she has accurately identified the characteristics of the new generation of journalists. However, she makes a number of statements that are unsupported. (i.e. that the new generation values truth, and that the travel project was successful.) More details are needed here to properly support her point. Without further details, I wasn’t all that convinced that her students “hit it out of the park” (Lynch 3) with the travel project, particularly since Lynch would have an obvious bias in promoting her own project.
Lynch, D. “Incubating innovation at journalism schools: with the online generation entering college, some key ingredients for new ways of practicing journalism are arriving with them.” Nieman Reports 61.3 (2007).