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journalism school

Posted by Shannon

Would-be journos often ask what they should read to get a feel for the business and I always point to Never Shoot a Stampede Queen.  Mark Leiren-Young’s memoir of his first year as a reporter in B.C.’s Cariboo region won the 2009 Leacock Medal for humour, and it’s a great primer on what it’s really like to be a reporter. It belongs on the reading list at every school for ink-stained-wretches.

Mark’s year at the Williams Lake Tribune was a news junkie’s dream. While his pals interning on the big city dailies were assigned to cover that 65th wedding anniversary in the ‘burbs, he was in cowboy country covering multiple homicides, train wrecks, and a court case involving a bomb-toting defendant.

Of course, he learned one sorry truth of the news business. You’ll never get as much (hostile) attention for your work as when you run an unflattering photo of the local beauty queen.

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Posted by Shannon

I’m sorry to report that I have had this conversation, almost word-for-word, when speaking to students, on public panels, or teaching. 

Then again, if people want to spend big bucks for a master's degree in making buggy whips, who are we to argue? - Read more

Posted by Shannon

The University of Colorado sent a shudder of fear rippling through journalism schools across North America when it announced it’s closing its J-school and possibly reinventing it as a school of “information.” 

Aside from that unfortunate title implying that every other department is something other than information, this is an impressive decision. They are the first to admit what everyone in journalism has known for about 15 years – the journalism project in its current incarnation is dead, and it’s ethically-dubious to go on selling students on pricey degree programs for which there are no jobs.

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Posted by Shannon

The University of Denver’s J-skool runs a class on writing for Wikipedia, which has drawn the predictable criticism while missing the real problem -- Wikipedia doesn’t pay you to write for them.

Why is a J-skool using a teaching tool that seems to be the antithesis of the goal of a trades training program – which is developing job skills.

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