Is your j-school failing you?

During a recent trip to give a guest lecture at an
American j-school, Paul Gillin at Newspaper Death Watch was shocked at the
naïveté he witnessed in the students: his talk was predominantly about the
state of the media, including the state of the business of news, and most of
the students were largely unaware of the stickier points of the news business.
Gillin gave the j-school an F.

In a recent post to his blog, Newspaper Death Watch,
Gillin reflected on the experience, titling his post, “J-schools get an F in

After giving his talk, Gillin took to the internet and
noticed that not one course in the journalism program’s curriculum was about
the economics of publishing. “This university is failing its students,” he
wrote. “I suspect that so are a lot of others.”

“Judging by my recent experiences with journalism
schools, the same career path that was advised 30 years ago is still being
recommended today,” Gillin wrote. “This begins with a low-paying job at a small
daily and proceeds through a series of staff positions at increasingly larger
publications. The Holy Grail is to land a job on the staff of The New York Times, which itself has
laid off 200 journalists in the last year.”

It sounds painfully familiar.

So let me ask you this: Do you know the answers to the
following questions (all topics discussed in Gillin’s talk)?

  • Why is the average daily newspaper reader (age 57) an
    undesirable target for advertisers?
  • How is it that newspaper readership is currently at an
    all-time high?
  • Why will advertising costs continue to go down and why
    is this a problem for traditional media?
  • Why has Craigslist crippled newspapers across the
  • Why is the effort to sustain high circulation levels
    actually hurting newspaper editorial?

If not, you’re not alone. However, it might be time to
start doing a little independent study. Here’s a good place to start.