Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Journalism Schools Wake Up To Need For Media Engineers

Posted by Tom Foremski - May 12, 2009

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About four years ago I began writing about the need for "media engineers" a skill set that is part journalist and part software engineer. Software skills should be part of a modern journalist's toolbox. (My first job was as a software engineer 29 years ago.)

Aug 17 2005 Journalists need to learn to speak some geek. . .

...journalists barely know how to type, or even how to spell...

Most journalists don't know a lick of HTML or even much about their software and hardware beyond the basics familiar to a 10-year-old.

That's going to have to change as the print/broadcast world, on which journalism was built, becomes a mostly online mediasphere.

Journalists are going to have to learn to speak some geek, because increasingly, they will not only be researching and writing, but also producing and editing and publishing online too.

Aug 19 2005 The coming era of the media engineer and media entrepreneur

This is now the era of the media engineer and media entrepreneur because the future is all about technology-enabled media companies.

[Oh, and BTW, every future company is a technology-enabled media company

It's been a long wait but I was very happy to see this article by Leena Rao over at TechCrunch: Calling All Coders: Journalism Schools Want You To Save The News Industry

Northwestern University's journalism school is offering free scholarships to software developers so they can further hone their journalism skills and possibly integrate the two for a media company down the line.

...The idea of creating programmers who understand journalism is compelling and brings attention to an important trend taking place in the industry.

Hyperlocal news site Everyblock and the St. Petersburg Times' truth finding political database Politifact were both built by developers with journalism backgrounds. Their model falls on the heels of Politifact, started by coder-turned-journalist Matt Waite, which won a Pulitzer Prize this year for national reporting.

It's taken many years for the journalism establishment to recognize the need for these skills. However, I think they have the cart before the horse.

Journalism takes time to learn. You don't need a journalism degree but you do need time to hone story telling skills. I would argue that it is easier to teach "geek" to journalists than the other way around.

I'd like to see more journalism schools offer classes in HTML, CSS, PHP, etc, to journalism students.

Software engineers don't need to know how to be journalists to be succesful. But journalists certainly do need to know some "media engineering" skills to succeed in today's world.

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Please see:

Learning to speak Geek. . .

Ten Basic New Media Skills Journalists Need To Know

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