Category Archives: Journalism education

Visual History of Poynter NewsU

Today is the official 10th birthday of Poynter News University. This journalism e-learning project, funded by the Knight Foundation and championed by Eric Newton, succeed because of the great teaching by The Poynter Institute faculty and hundreds of adjuncts and lecturers. It also worked because of the VERY hard work by the NewsU Crew: Robin Sloan, Vicki Krueger, Paige West, Casey Frechette, Ben Russell, Vanessa Goodrum, Phil Zepeda, Susan Crain, Elizabeth Ferris Costello, Willi Rudowsky, Chip Scanlan, Jennifer Dronkers Collins, Jen Ogborn Wallace, Nuria Peña, Leslie Passante, Sandy Johnakin, Kathryn Rende, Pam Hogle, Vidisha Priyanka, Lauren Klinger, Ren LaForme and Jordan Kranse, the newest member and the Institute’s Finberg Fellow. And there are lots of other folks.

I’ve created a visual history of NewsU, which has more than 325,000 registered users, as my thank you. Or is it Thank Ewe [inside joke]. It is 10 years of history in about 10 minutes.

Celebrating Poynter NewsU’s 10th Birthday

On Thursday evening [April 9], Eric Newton and I will be discussing Poynter’s e-learning program as part of News University’s 10th birthday celebration.  It will be a glorious and, I hope, fun-filled time celebrating a program that has more than 325,000 registered users and more than 400 e-learning modules.  As I think about how NewsU started, I keep coming back to Bill Mitchell and his nudging of Jim Naughton, Poynter’s president in 2001, to hire me – even on a part-time basis.  It must have worked, as Jim named me Poynter’s Presidential Scholar for 2002.

After nine NewsU 10th Birthdaymonths of study and conversations with the faculty and students, and stumbling around the issues of technology, journalism and training that year I wrote an e-learning report. That report turned into a grant request to the Knight Foundation. The rest is history.

Bill was the catalyst, the spark that got me to Poynter and helped me get the NewsU engine started.  Naughton is gone [he died in 2012] and it saddens me that I probably didn’t tell him enough times how much the NewsU project mattered to me, personally and professionally. Also gone is Paul Pohlman, one of NewsU’s greatest supporters, even though he was one of the least digitally-focused faculty members at the institute.

I remember one senior leadership meeting where Paul said we should just stop in-person seminars and do everything via e-learning. Coming from Paul, people sat up and took notice; he wanted more attention paid to NewsU.  While I’ve told Bill how appreciative I am for his intervention and support, I wish I had told Jim and Paul as well.

So as we celebrate Poynter NewsU, don’t forget to make time to thank the people who make things happen behind the scenes. Thank you.

Journalism education can’t teach its way to the future

In June 2012, I wrote an article for Poynter Online about the future of journalism education.  The article was based on a keynote speech I gave at the 20th anniversary of the European Journalism Centre.

Here are some excepts from the start of the article:

As we think about the changes whipping through the media industry, there is a nearby storm about to strike journalism education.

The future of journalism education will be a very different and difficult future, a future that is full of innovation and creative disruption. And, I believe, we will see an evolution and uncoupling between the value of a journalism education and a journalism degree.

The future of journalism education is linked to the future of journalism itself. Each is caught within the other’s vortex, both spinning within today’s turmoil of change.

The disruption in the economic models of news organizations, rippling out from the United States to Europe and elsewhere, is well documented.

The media industry missed the inflection point when things started to change more than 20 years ago. Media companies have been disrupted by innovation created by others, by new organizations and technology companies.

Journalism education is at its own inflection point.

You can still read the entire article at Poynter.

The full text of the speech is available at Access, the blog for Poynter’s News University.

You can watch the video of Howard Finberg’s speech about the future of journalism education to the European Journalism Centre 20th Anniversary conference.