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Journalism and Mass Communication Education in the United States: Past, Present, and Future

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Abstract:

Journalism and mass communication education in the United States has been characterized by a long-lasting debate about its status as a discipline in higher education. While some believe that journalism is an academic field unto itself, one which deserves significant theoretical attention and study, others believe journalism to be more appropriately viewed simply as a professional or vocational skill, and not as an area of deep theoretical import. This debate about the importance of theory and professionalism in media education remains the focus in many discussions about the future of this field in a fast changing academic environment.

The 21st century, however, has brought a number of new challenges to colleges and universities that teach journalism and mass communication in the United States and abroad. Three main challenges can be identified: First, it seems that journalism and mass communication programs have been slow to adapt to the rapid changes in media technologies that have taken place in the past twenty years or so. The second challenge is the fact that a growing percentage of students graduating from journalism and mass communication programs do not find traditional media jobs in print, broadcasting, public relations, or advertising anymore. Instead, today’s journalism and mass communication graduates increasingly move into other communication fields, such as corporate public relations and advertising or government communication. The third and final challenge to how journalism is taught is related to the growing globalization and multiculturalism that characterize many societies around the world.

While the relevance of these issues to journalism education curricula has been discussed among academics in recent years, most journalism and mass communication courses are still taught from a predominantly national perspective today. However, multiculturalism and the growing globalization of economies and media systems require improved knowledge of other cultures and ethnicities, awareness of different modes of intercultural communication when working in culturally diverse societies, and attentiveness to issues of media representation of racial and ethnic minorities.

Many media programs in the United States have started to respond to these challenges. The goal of this paper is to briefly sketch some historical developments in journalism and mass communication education in the United States, discuss the criticisms and the changing university environment, and provide some suggestions for the future of journalism and mass communication education in the United States and abroad.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference
URL:
http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p977445_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Weaver, David. and Willnat, Lars. "Journalism and Mass Communication Education in the United States: Past, Present, and Future" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico, <Not Available>. 2018-02-14 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p977445_index.html>

APA Citation:

Weaver, D. H. and Willnat, L. "Journalism and Mass Communication Education in the United States: Past, Present, and Future" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association 65th Annual Conference, Caribe Hilton, San Juan, Puerto Rico <Not Available>. 2018-02-14 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p977445_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: Journalism and mass communication education in the United States has been characterized by a long-lasting debate about its status as a discipline in higher education. While some believe that journalism is an academic field unto itself, one which deserves significant theoretical attention and study, others believe journalism to be more appropriately viewed simply as a professional or vocational skill, and not as an area of deep theoretical import. This debate about the importance of theory and professionalism in media education remains the focus in many discussions about the future of this field in a fast changing academic environment.

The 21st century, however, has brought a number of new challenges to colleges and universities that teach journalism and mass communication in the United States and abroad. Three main challenges can be identified: First, it seems that journalism and mass communication programs have been slow to adapt to the rapid changes in media technologies that have taken place in the past twenty years or so. The second challenge is the fact that a growing percentage of students graduating from journalism and mass communication programs do not find traditional media jobs in print, broadcasting, public relations, or advertising anymore. Instead, today’s journalism and mass communication graduates increasingly move into other communication fields, such as corporate public relations and advertising or government communication. The third and final challenge to how journalism is taught is related to the growing globalization and multiculturalism that characterize many societies around the world.

While the relevance of these issues to journalism education curricula has been discussed among academics in recent years, most journalism and mass communication courses are still taught from a predominantly national perspective today. However, multiculturalism and the growing globalization of economies and media systems require improved knowledge of other cultures and ethnicities, awareness of different modes of intercultural communication when working in culturally diverse societies, and attentiveness to issues of media representation of racial and ethnic minorities.

Many media programs in the United States have started to respond to these challenges. The goal of this paper is to briefly sketch some historical developments in journalism and mass communication education in the United States, discuss the criticisms and the changing university environment, and provide some suggestions for the future of journalism and mass communication education in the United States and abroad.


 
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