What journalism students need to know: New skills for a new model

Another topic which arose out of the C&binet conference in London was the new skills in business and entrepreneurship which journalism students need to be taught to prepare for the changing landscape of the media.

City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism students already take a class in entrepreneurship. Jeff Jarvis, who teaches there, thinks should learn to be stewards of journalism – learning for example how to set up hyperlocal sites, invite and train collaborators, and turn the news site into a successful business.

Details of the hypothetical news model from CUNY can be found here – and it is in the process of being translated for the UK.

It is clear from developments in the US – which the UK will duly follow – journalism students need to be taught or encouraged to do entrepreneurship to make sure they take off in the new climate – rather than fall flat on their face because their traditional skill-set no longer stands up to what the market demands.

At the meeting we heard how older and redundant journalists are desperate to learn new media skills – and many are trying now to find time outside of work hours to train themselves up and start their own hyperocal sites.

It was considered whether some training could be offered to the unemployed to allow them to contribute to hyperlocal sites while they look for work.

The point was also made students need an incubation period after leaving journalism school where they are given support in starting their own businesses online and any advice on what they are doing – putting them in contact with the relative right people.

At CUNY they realise the old career path no longer exists because journalism isn’t how it used to be. They’re setting students up with the knowledge and tools for creating hyperlocal enterprises (how to create business models, pitching, how to sell advertising, how to build a website). If British counterparts want to keep up they also need to be trained in a way which recognises the new journalism skills require for a new age of media.