Put this in your new media mindset

One of my journalism school deans likes to say that we journalists ought to have a new media mindset and not just a new media skillset. I often harp on this phrase cheekily, but I’ll tell you today what I think of the new media mindset, after all of these months of hearing about “Flash” and “Final Cut Pro” and “Photoshop” and “Twitter,” and all the rest (which, incidentally, are pretty easy to learn, except Flash), and in honor of my coming graduation. I think none of it is that big of a deal. I mean it is and it isn’t. Of course, new media is redefining how people write somewhat–often more opinionated and shorter–and definitely resulting in waning attention spans. But when I see all the ink..er bandwidth..devoted to talking about something as simple and silly as Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, I wonder, what on earth does it have to do with journalism besides facilitating source gathering and promoting oneself?  Those things are important, sure, but they are hardly worth the time some people spend thinking and talking about it. It would be akin to me getting more excited about a magazine’s cover and glossy pages than its content.

This does not make me a Luddite–hardly, I WISH I could tear myself away from the computer and all of its attention-stripping applications, and in truth, social networking apps are not the devil and photo and sound editing is fun–it just means I don’t think it’s that big of a deal when it comes to making journalism better or more interesting or more significant.

I also think there is a bit of a conflict at my school in terms of what they think they should teach us for being employable at a fulltime job at a large news organization right away and what they should teach us to be better long term journalists. This often puts technology and a more reporting and writing-focused curriculm at odds. It need not. Truthfully, it hasn’t worsened by education at all. I have learned a lot and maybe avoided new technology to my detriment. (I’ll learn this summer though). I almost think talking about it is tired, except that I cannot avoid it anyway, and it will persist as an issue here.

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About elainemeyer
I'm a writer and editor. I work in communications at the Columbia School of Public Health, where I write about epidemiologic research. In the past I've worked as a reporter and studied journalism and history in school.

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