Is journalism school becoming an endangered species?

Despite the shrinking papers and shrinking bankbooks,
demand for an education in journalism is soaring, and competition for a
classroom spot (like that for careers in journalism) is fierce. But will this
last? One blogger predicts that j-schools will fade into obscurity in the
not-so-distant future.

Chris Lynch wrote recently on The Lynch Blog about his
forecast that the age of j-school grads populating newsrooms and the
blogosphere will soon begin dwindling, replaced instead by niche reporters who
have a degree that is more specific—in anything but journalism.

He writes:

“In the coming years, I think most journalism schools
will shrink or disappear. The ones remaining will be drastically different,
with students focusing on topics that don’t relate to content creation at all.
Moreover, some of the best new professional content creators won’t attend journalism
schools. They will hail from different majors and degrees, like business,
computer science and finance. The notion of being a professional journalist who
is merely an objective observer of a topic or industry will officially fade in
the coming years. This is a good thing, since it was a stupid fantasy that it
should be like that anyway.”

It’s an interesting theory, and judging by the lack of rash
and foolish comments below the post, it seems to be a concept that many are
considering. But does it hold up
in the real world?

I do agree that, in my experience, a typical j-school’s
attempt at modernizing teaching material (introducing “online courses” that teach HTML
and Twitter) can sometimes feel antiquated and generally not worth my time, let alone my
tuition. But does that make the bulk of the instruction useless too? Maybe I’m
more old school than I should be for someone born in the 1980s, but I still
feel there is value in an education that teaches how to write and communicate
effectively, and how to think critically about the information that you come across.

This whole debate reminds me of a back-and-forth that
happened last week in the comments section of another J-Source article that
raised the following question: Is the value of a j-school education measured in
a program’s ability to give its grads jobs come springtime, or is there more to
it than that?

For those who are in j-school, have recently graduated,
or just have their own two cents to put forward, I want to know what you think.
Are j-schools going the way of the dodo bird?