Offer that program, or one like it, to concerned parents who feel overwhelmed by the media deluge themselves, to help turn them into better media consumers and to give them ways to help their children.
Dan Gillmor over at Mediactive wrote this post about how schools should change their journalism curriculum. Below is my response. What are your thoughts?
Hi Dan! I read “We The Media” in my graduate course at the University of Nevada Interactive Environmental Journalism program (pardon the plug).
I do think you hit on a lot of key points – especially entrepreneurial aspects of building good journalism products. That has to also include some sort of course in innovation where students are challenged to come up with new ways to do journalism.
But one area I have to disagree with is the implication that people have to be “taught” how to consume media. I’m a firm believer in understanding how people use the news then building from there.
In an IDEO type exercise for another grad course, we created 3 wallets – one designed for ourselves, one designed for a classmate without discussion with them, and one designed with their input. Needless to say, the third type of wallet was superior. Media today, however, seem to be designing products for themselves and not their audiences.
We get so bogged down with The First Amendment, morality, and ethics that we don’t stop to consider how everyone else is dealing with it. Instead of asking parents to seek out our help in understanding the media, we should be seeking out parents to help us understand how we can make our information clearer, more useful, etc.
That is really how collaboration with other disciplines can foster. Without user-centered design, we’re all just throwing theoreticals and hypotheticals around the chamber.
It’s a much more uncomfortable position, I would wager, than being PR agents for journalism.
Thank you for your post and I hope that this sparks lively debates within journalism schools across the country.