In a survey done by Bob Bergland, which was cited in Bryan Murley’s article on PBS’s “media shift” blog, Bergland states that an alarming 36 percent of the 392 college newspapers in the study did not have an online presence.
That number, in this day in age, is staggering to me, and far too high given all of the opportunity available to newspapers in new social media.
Not having a website for any organization these days is a lost opportunity, and in my opinion, a tad barbaric.
In another article by Murley on this same blog, he lists 5 reasons as to why smaller schools have not yet embraced new media. They are as follows:
1. Small staffs and high churn rate
2. Instructors who don’t get it
3. Old mindsets from the students
4. Not enough payoff for students
5. Sparse resources
Luckily, at JMU, we do have a student newspaper. The Breeze is constantly attempting to push fellow students to its web page, and even has online only content in the form of video’s and slide show’s. One such video was produced by the “JMU Breeze Network” about fantasy football.
This is a good start for the Breeze, which in mind, is still in the early stages of adopting social media.
The Collegian, by comparison, has a lot more multimedia as far as video and pictures go, and also has many different blogs ranging from “between the Pipes” to “MAKE PLAYS.”
The Maneater also has blogs, video’s, audio segments and plenty of pictures, but they take social media even farther. The Maneater, in their multimedia section, has podcasts about politics, sports and general Missouri University News.
Granted, both Penn State and Missouri University have two of the best journalism programs in the country. However, JMU, and especially all of the schools that don’t even have a web presence, need to get with the times and follow the example set by these two institutions.
Much of the problem, in my mind, comes in the classroom. Many journalism classes taught at JMU teach “old” journalism, and don’t really delve into how to incorporate new social media in journalism. Since many Breeze writers come from our program, I think that is part of our newspapers problem.
Julie Posetti, another blogger for the “media shift” blog, agrees with my sentiment. As a teacher of journalism, she understands the problems with much of the journalism curriculum around the world.
In her article, Experimentation (Not Stagnation) Should Flourish at J-Schools, Posetti makes a very poignant statement that I would like to end on. “In other academic fields, it’s cutting-edge research that drives industry change, not the other way around. In a perfect world, journalism educators would not lag behind industry, but rather would be setting the pace for educational change in response to digital transformations,” she says.