Why journalism education was no help to the profession.

A few years ago, Ryerson University put out a very oblivious report on the state of journalism education. It is very hard to imagine j-schools having the nerve to publish a bloated and pretentious document without offering one important observation.

The presentations were done in 2014. This dreck was published in 2015.

And how well has Ryerson rehabilitated the profession?

Spoiler alert: it got worse; so let's get that out of the way.

It is a knee-slapper of a title:

Toward 2020: New Directions in Journalism Education

Don't buy the title: they offer no new direction in journalism education.

I read through this mess, and to say the authors have no clue why journalism collapsed, educators' role in it, and how to start again.

The amount of sophistry and doublespeak is shameful as journalism is not about bloated jargon that says nothing.

As usual, they are obsessed with digital media as if that will be some sort of saviour for the profession, never considering that even in 2014, Big Tech could not resurrect journalism. Journalism imploded in this medium because it exposed a weakness that other media didn't.

Here is an instructive passage:

Social media are now the primary carriers of breaking news. Online news sites, blogs, and social media are far more often willing to publicly shame elites than legacy media. The locations of opinion and debate have moved to digital media. All of this has reduced the need for and influence of news organizations.

That isn't quite true -- or the entire picture. Journalists are more than happy to shame people -- social media is unfiltered and unverified, and debate and opinion have always been filler. Had the profession had more discipline and more focus, they could have easily kept up with the times and been viable.

There is another truism:

Journalism isn’t an art, nor is it a science.

By willful choice to neglect the profession. It is a profession that chose to be feral and uneducated. You cannot leave children in the woods with no supervision, and then say children are animals -- not if they are raised by parents and educated, they're not.

There are more excuse than reasons, passing the buck by claiming j-school were co=opted by industry, which is ridiculous. Industry wasn't all that keen on education for decades, and you do not need a j-school education to get into journalism.

When I started as a journalist, I had a psych degree. I got my Masters in journalism after I got my newspaper column.

But then there is this passage:

Higher education isn’t about ensuring employment. It is about shaping and sharpening students’ abilities to think and about giving them skills they can use in a variety of activities in future years. It is about helping them understand the past, how people and societies work, what forces affect the human condition, how to deal with the inevitable changes they will encounter in their lives, and how to find their own paths to success.

No, higher education shakes down its alumni for donations; so you better believe it is all about ensuring employment. You want benefactors, those benefactors have to be educated to gain full-time employment, not incur debt and then get a minimum wage job after graduation.

Otherwise, you are stealing money under false pretences.

And the contention that "journalism programs will never move forward by hiring middle-aged and senior journalists" is mystifying: age counts for experience in the field -- but more important than being ageist is finding journalists who see the problems -- and have a plan to be innovative visionaries. So far, young journalists have been as useless and passive as their older counterparts. We have no mavericks or visionaries teaching right now, regardless of age. 

And that's the sophistry spewed on the first essay.

It goes downhill from there.

One paper babbles about using a "A Foucauldian Foray into How Power Operates When Journalists and Public Relations Officers Meet" -- a philosophical interpretation, not a hello! empirical one with actual data and facts.

Many papers are a literal laundry list of stringing whatever popular buzzwords were popular in 2014.

None bothered to conduct studies or provide primary sources and research -- and that tells you everything you need to know why j-schools were miserable failures.

STEM-based disciplines had no such problems (they have other problems, but you can get a career going after graduating), but journalism never bothered to do any of it.

It was a useless exercise, and why I am not surprised that journalism isn't a thing anymore -- neither are j-schools...