Two years after crossing the stage at Macky Auditorium to receive my B.S. in journalism from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the university regents voted 5-4 to shut down the School of Journalism and Mass Communications this June.
No longer will students be able to major in journalism, or any of the specific focuses previously offered, although they will be offered a “journalism plus” degree to accompany another major.
While I am very upset to see the program go and believe that there could have been a better way to restructure it, I think the closure is certainly an eye-opener for everyone working in media. In our age of tweets, texts and Facebook, where information can be easily accessed like no other time before, where does the journalist fall?
Twitter users know that a majority of the content found there is from news articles, written by journalists. While the argument can be made that direct, user-to-user interactions may be replacing the traditional role of a journalist, we still rely heavily on news sources for well-researched, detailed and factual reports that are longer than 140 characters.
What about bloggers, while many prominent bloggers are former journalists, what about the 8,000 unpaid bloggers at AOL? Are they all trained journalists? My guess is probably not. And they don’t really need to be, because that is not what they are being asked to do. Bloggers are held to a different and more lenient code of ethics than journalists.
I guess my point is that yes, journalism is changing, platforms and newsrooms are certainly different than they were 10 years ago. But does that mean the principles of journalism should change? I don’t think so.
I am sure there are many underlying reasons why the university decided to cut the school. Budget and faculty issues have been noted in reports, but the bottom line is that quality journalism helps gather facts to create solid opinions, helping foster lively and intelligent debates in the social space. Therefore, journalism is an important building block of social media.
What do you think, how has the role of a journalist changed in your eyes? Where do they fall today?
Graduation Day from the CU Journalism School
On Twitter @Mereepp