Why Taking This Class Will Help You

Skyline College started its fall semester yesterday.  And since I have several students in the JOUR 121 course, I will once again be updating this blog more regularly.  I love teaching this course, in part because of the professional developments challenges it offers to me. But I also feel an obligation to teach this course as the journalism landscape continues to implode change. Perhaps I’m in this mood because I just read Clay Shirky’s smackdown-of-an-article, “Last Call: The end of the printed newspaper.” Yikes.

So, if he’s right–and it’s prudent to think so–here are the three things he says you better get on now:

  1. “Get good with numbers.”
  2. “Learn to use social media tools to find stories and sources.”
  3. “Journalism is becoming more of a team sport…volunteer for (or propose) anything that involves deeper teamwork than you’re used to, and anything that involves experimenting with new tools or techniques.”

If you are enrolled in JOUR 121, you are taking a good first step towards these three things, because those three goals are already built into our class and its assignments.  The real challenge is to not stop at what you learn this semester, but to take his advice as path to follow. Sure, take this class. But if you also see a free MOOC on data journalism, enroll.  If you aren’t on social media, or are not on top of posting, do it.  If you envision interning at a print publication, but aren’t also imagining a news or journalism product you can produce yourself, start now. Make sure journalistic Darwinism finds YOU a survivor.