After speaking yesterday to an advanced news writing class yesterday at the Michigan State University School of Journalism about blogging, I left with a whole lot of questions about how future reporters were being trained.
In an almost two-hour give and take about the new versus the old media, I left with the impression that these students had very little background about how the world of information has changed because of the web. Mainstream media is being held in a death grip by change that's happening without a whole lot of notice.
The way people receive information--especially news--has changed dramatically. Newspapers are on a death march to either extinction or irrelevance.
I asked each student about how they used the web to gather and process information, especially about current events. Most were MySpace users. Many had used YouTube. Some had dabbled in other news sites, like Drudge or CNN.
But most had little or no knowledge about how news gathering and reporting had been democratized through blogs. They were not familiar with the Cluetrain Manifesto and about the changing nature of the marketplace and how it is using different perceptual filters for information that it processes.
The instructor who is an incredibly accomplished news reporter had little knowledge about these changes and really doubted that blogs would be serious vehicle for news reporting.
The journalism school seemed to be chained to the past.
How important is it to teach future reporters about web 2.0, about blogs,about wikis and other new sources of information?
Are they learning to work in an environment that will not exist in a few years?
Are my concerns legitimate or have I drank too much of the social media kool-aid?