Tag Archives: curriculum

GOP convention spared, God turns his judgment on Louisiana: what the hell is He mad about THIS time?

A few days it looked like The Lord Thy God was a’fixin’ to smite the Republican National Convention. Now, though, His Wrath has veered out over open water, picking up steam and drawing a bead on … no, seriously? Again? … New Orleans. Now, I don’t want to get ahead of Him here – The Lord, in His infinite wisdom, works in mysterious ways, and for all we know Hurricane Isaac might wind up smiting Kalispell before all is said and done. Read more

Dr. Slammy in 2008: A thinkpower curriculum for the 21st Century

Hi. I’m Sam Smith, and I’m running for president on a platform that stresses education’s critical role in solving our nation’s problems and assuring a future of universal opportunity for all citizens. Today I’m introducing my platform plank on curriculum, a cornerstone concern for any productive educational system.


One size does not fit all. It goes without saying that we must emphasize education in mathematics and the sciences, as these skills provide the foundation we need to compete in a world of increasing technical complexity. Language, writing and communication skills, which have been sadly de-emphasized in the past 20 years, are also essential. Read more

A proposed curriculum for graduate study in Interpretive Journalism: an S&R special report

Part four in a series.

I hope that by this stage of the discussion a few fundamental points are evident:

  1. Traditional journalism – the institutional form that most of us grew up with and the codes that governed it – is in decline. For a variety of factors it has lost (or is rapidly losing) its place as the dominant means by which information is transmitted in our culture, and in the process its capacity to help shape public opinion in a productive manner has been gravely undermined.
  2. Blogging and other forms of alternative journalism have assumed a dramatically important role in the news and information transmission processes formerly served by legacy media. This trends seems likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Read more

The rise of “subjective” journalism: an S&R special report

Part three in a series.

In the aftermath of the 2004 election I wrote a fairly jaded op-ed for Editor & Publisher lamenting just how badly our brave new world of electronic media had failed us. I said, in part:

In the “marketplace of ideas” model that gave rise to the First Amendment, rationally self-interested citizens would enter the market with an informed, more or less open mind, where they would wander from stall to stall sampling the wide array of ideas on display. Some of these wares would be premium quality, some would be second-rate, and some would probably be rotten to the core, but an educated and contemplative electorate would inherently arrive at the best decision; in the estimation of John Milton, the “truth would out.

“This isn’t how the electronic marketplace we saw in this election worked. Read more

The end of “objectivity”: S&R special report on journalism education

Part two in a series.

Let’s begin with a brief look at how Americans view the press.

  • A 2004 Gallup Poll says “Americans rate the trustworthiness of journalists at about the level of politicians and as only slightly more credible than used-car salesmen.”
  • Only about one in five Americans “believe journalists have high ethical standards, ranking them below auto mechanics but tied with members of Congress.”
  • Only “one in four people believe what they read in the newspapers.”
  • Chicago Tribune Editor Charles M. Madigan says: “If you are a journalist, you should probably just assume that you come across as a liar.”
  • A 1999 American Society of Newspaper Editors survey said that “53 percent of the public view the press as out of touch with mainstream America, while 78 percent think journalists pay more attention to the interests of their editors than their readers.”
  • About 22 percent of respondents to a 2003 Pew survey said they thought “the unethical practices of [Jayson] Blair, which included fabricating sources and events, occur frequently among journalists, while 36 percent said they thought wrongdoing happened occasionally. Another 58 percent believed journalists didn’t care about inaccuracies.”

Read more

Education for the next generation of journalism: a Scholars & Rogues special report

It doesn’t seem controversial to suggest that journalism in America (and beyond) is in trouble, and there are any number of factors contributing to the malaise.

A particular concern of mine has been the decline in the efficacy of what we’ll call “objective journalism” – that is, the institutionalized press that dominated newsgathering and production throughout the better part of the 20th Century. These institutions and brands are still quite viable economically (New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, ABC, CBS, NBC, Reuters, AP, etc.), but the sad fact is that consolidation, layoffs and ratings frenzies have dramatically eroded the value these agencies provide to a society in need of top-quality information and insightful analysis. You can’t make good decisions on bad information, and increasingly you can’t get good information from the legacy press.

At the same moment when the institutions are faltering we’re experiencing an explosion in “non-traditional journalism.” Read more