Journalism taught at film school

NBC has teamed up with the New York Film Academy to offer a digital journalism program. A Village Voice report says the program is a “response to a sea change in how the public consumes news.” NBC News’ vice-president of strategic initiatives is quoted in the story explaining the decision to approach the Film Academy:

“What this business needs in general are more young people who need to
be great journalists, but who also need to know all the technology to
be more nimble and resourceful. So, we decided to teach them.”

The goal of the program is for students to become a “one-man band.” This means a graduate of the program would have skills in research, writing, lighting, camera work, editing and content management.

Here in Canada, a similar shift is taking place in journalism education. In the last few years an online component was added to Ryerson’s program and more recently a move was made away from specialization so students can pick up more varied skills.  Joyce Smith, director of online curriculum at Ryerson’s School of Journalism told the National Post the online surge has “shaken everything else out of complacency.” She adds:

“I’ve had many more job offers and internship possibilities in the last two years than I’ve ever had for people who have had some sort of online or multimedia background of training…It’ll just be: Do you know how to take pictures, are you a really good editor, can you write well, can you report well? And the actual medium is going to become less and less important.”

The University of British Columbia recently added Alfred Hermida, who worked on the BBC news Web site, to its faculty with the aim of adding more of an online component.

Other journalism schools have been more measured in their approach to digital media. Columbia University’s new media coordinator Duy Linh Tu told the Village Voice the school’s graduate program “still stresses traditional writing and reporting” but incorprates a “new-media mind-set.”

Students are taught to use Final Cut Pro and other programs, but he
says he doesn’t want them to get too caught up in the technology,
because the “Flash guy” today could be outmoded tomorrow.