Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Ten Days In, The USF J-Forum Catches Its Breath

Okay, the USF Journalism Forum has been out there for a little more than a week, and some progress has been made. The plusses are a dozen members and a dozen comments. Downside is only a dozen members and comments!

So founding members: Copy the URL and send it to USF acquaintances who might enjoy commenting. As blog administrator, I have set the blog rules so that anonymous comments are allowed. That means USF grads who were really not that thrilled with the school, the department, you, me, anybody else can have their say. It's a big tent. Anyone can come inside.

What has been said on the blog so far? This is my summary:

* Internships are very very useful, and SF is a big enough city to support that side of a major.

* Having majored in journalism can reduce job shock -- my god, I don't know how to do this!

* Having majored in journalism helps finding a job in today's market. It's a requirement at many places. Employers seem to expect it.

* Speaking generally, there are a lot of people working in journalism who don't have a J degree and don't have a clue. From that point of view, a degree is not a waste of time.

* It would be good for USF; that is, it would attract students and boost our rep.

What comments do I have on my comments? You may not agree with my version of events. Disagreements welcome! More to the point, it may be that a more useful discussion would involve just what courses a USF major should include. For instance, if we crank up a journalism major, we will have to decide just how great an emphasis we should place on Web presentation, on Internet journalism. I am old school. I think that three basic reporting classes in which one learns to report and write solid print stories will produce people who can easily learn to do any additional skills needed to make you passable Web journalist. I'm saying we should do a lean major with solid print courses at its core, and that anyone who goes through such a major would be eminently employable because the basics are what you need. I'm saying this after saying that employers would prefer not to train reporters from scratch. I'm perhaps contradicting myself by saying that once you have the basics, employers *will* be willing to train you in basic Internet skills if your employer decides print, video and audio should "converge." I think employers understand that the basics are the key. I don't think they care that much if you have had a couple broadcasting courses of the kind that would enable you to do a little Web stand up, a little Web audio story.

Boy, could I be wrong. I invite discussion on this point.

Also, it would be interesting -- and perhaps painful -- to hear just what you think could be done to improve the existing courses, the ones many of you took. If we decide to not move forward and stick with the minor, the courses being offered will be the same old same old you guys went through. Is now the moment to suggest how they might have been better?

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