Credit: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism
Credit: CUNY Graduate School of Journalism

If news outlets are having trouble adapting to the new digital landscape, Journalism schools aren’t. A new generation of J-school students are being primed to work within social news organizations rather than conventions news outlets. They’re being equipped with a mix of journalism and technical skills. As Time reports:

A cadre of newly minted media whiz kids, who mix high-tech savvy with hard-nosed reporting skills, are taking a closer look at ways in which 21st century code-crunching and old-fashioned reporting can not only coexist but also thrive. And the first batch of them has just emerged from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

They’ve just completed a new master’s program at Medill — with scholarships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation — aimed at training programmers in basic journalism so they can better understand how technology is impacting the industry and trying to engineer change down the road. Medill isn’t the only higher-education institution blending computer programming and journalism; at other schools such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, traditional J-school programs are incorporating a dose of tech-thumping […] the brains behind these new programs are trying to capitalize on ways in which sophisticated programming can make the delivery of news more accessible.

The article goes on to illustrate that a variety of campuses are training these new breed of journalists in one of two ways: (1) equipping J-school students tech skills, and (2) giving tech students journalism training so that they’re better equipped to design and build apps that can meet a journalism mandate.

Now, it’s a lot easier for a faculty to launch a new curriculum than it is for a news organization to restructure their business model. But society as a whole is reaching a point where just about every skilled position will require some degree of tech-savvy. So it’s encouraging to know that while news organizations struggle to reinvent themselves, efforts are being made elsewhere to equip the next generation of journalists with cloud-computing skills.

But while there’s little doubt in my mind that news organizations will continue to exists, news media is going through a stage in its evolution that’s going to thin the herd. And chances are that the herd will eventually bounce back in size (whether in terms a few, larger being larger in size (staff) or there being a plethora of smaller outlets and freelancers), but it’s going to take some time.

So I’m hoping that enough of these next-gen-journalists can find their place in the world of news media before they’re forced to switch career tracks, because losing these skills to the evolutionary process would make that process all that much more drawn-out and painful.

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