As Trump rips me­dia, jour­nal­ism schools see a surge in ad­mis­sions

The Borneo Post - Good English - - Listen Up Class - By Nick An­der­son

ROXANNE Ready plunged into au­tumn classes at the Univer­sity of Mary­land with the en­thu­si­asm typ­i­cal of a grad­u­ate stu­dent who wants to switch ca­reers. She also has a bit of ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion.

The 32-year-old is seek­ing a mas­ter’s de­gree in jour­nal­ism at a time when the pres­i­dent of the United States is launch­ing fierce and sus­tained at­tacks on news re­porters and ma­jor me­dia out­lets. She said she finds it “pretty dis­turb­ing” when Pres­i­dent Don­aldTrump dis­par­ages jour­nal­ists and calls their work “fake news.”

“That sort of trig­gers a lit­tle bit of stub­born­ness in me, want­ing to prove it’s not true,” Ready said. She said she pays zeal­ous at­ten­tion to pre­ci­sion, ac­cu­racy and ethics. “It makes me want to do my job that much bet­ter.”

The Trump era, over­flow­ing with news, and the emer­gence of new ways to tell sto­ries ap­pear to be giv­ing a jolt to jour­nal­ism schools that in re­cent years strug­gled to cope with in­dus­try con­trac­tions. Stu­dents such as Ready are more fired up than ever about learn­ing the tools of news­gath­er­ing, ed­u­ca­tors say. And at some prominent schools, there’s ev­i­dence of grow­ing de­mand for jour­nal­ism de­grees as ap­pli­ca­tions and en­roll­ment re­bound and in­ves­tiga­tive re­port­ing classes fill up. At the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Philip Mer­rill Col­lege of Jour­nal­ism,

an es­ti­mated 130 fresh­men are en­ter­ing the jour­nal­ism col­lege this au­tumn, up 50 per cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year. The in­com­ing mas­ter’s class of 26 stu­dents is also big­ger than the year be­fore.

“Ev­ery time (Trump) calls jour­nal­ists the ‘en­emy of the peo­ple,’ or says some­thing about ‘fake news,’ or gets a crowd at a rally to jeer at the White House press corps,” said Lucy Dal­glish, dean of the Mer­rill Col­lege, more stu­dents de­cide “they’re go­ing to ma­jor in jour­nal­ism.”

Ed­u­ca­tors point out that jour­nal­ism stu­dents come from all po­lit­i­cal points of view - Repub­li­can, Demo­cratic, in­de­pen­dent. “Some are form­ing who they are,” said Tricia Petty, an as­sis­tant dean at West Vir­ginia Univer­sity’s Reed Col­lege of Me­dia. “They don’t yet know where they lean.”

What an­i­mates many of the col­lege’s 323 jour­nal­ism stu­dents, Petty said, is “a call­ing to tell the story of ‘their peo­ple and com­mu­nity’ through ‘their lens’ in­stead of hav­ing it told by some­one else.”

No na­tional data are yet avail­able on the num­ber of in­com­ing jour­nal­ism stu­dents in 2018. But there are signs of ris­ing in­ter­est in the field.

At North­west­ern Univer­sity, un­der­grad­u­ate ap­pli­ca­tions to the Medill School of Jour­nal­ism, Me­dia, In­te­grated Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions rose 24 per cent in the last ad­mis­sion cy­cle. The in­terim dean, Charles Whi­taker, said it’s too soon to know whether that in­crease is more than a “mo­men­tary blip.” But he said it is clear that some jour­nal­ism stu­dents are “ag­i­tated and ac­ti­vated by what they hear from the White House.”

Lor­raine Bran­ham, dean of the Ne­w­house School of Pub­lic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions at Syra­cuse Univer­sity, said she sees more stu­dents sign­ing up for in­ves­tiga­tive and po­lit­i­cal re­port­ing classes that in re­cent years were un­der­en­rolled or even can­celed for lack of in­ter­est.

“The pres­i­dent might be hav­ing a pos­i­tive im­pact on us,” she said. She drew a com­par­i­son to the wave of stu­dents from an ear­lier gen­er­a­tion in­spired by re­porters who chron­i­cled the scan­dal that drove Pres­i­dent Richard M. Nixon from of­fice.

“In some ways, it’s al­most like a Water­gate mo­ment,” Bran­ham said.

At Ari­zona State Univer­sity’s Wal­ter Cronkite School of Jour­nal­ism and Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, the in­com­ing classes of un­der­grad­u­ate and mas­ter’s stu­dents are up 11 per cent com­pared with the pre­vi­ous year. Christo­pher Cal­la­han, dean of the school, said its fresh­man class of 279 is the largest in 10 years.

Trump is al­most cer­tainly not the only fac­tor. New jour­nal­ism stu­dents are drawn to the re­port­ing and sto­ry­telling power of so­cial me­dia and other tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments, Cal­la­han said. They want to re­port on com­mu­ni­ties that are of­ten over­looked, such as Amer­i­can In­di­ans in the South­west. They are in­spired by re­port­ing on the #MeToo move­ment that has shed light on long-hid­den sex­ual mis­con­duct.

“There’s a real pas­sion for pub­lic ser­vice,” Cal­la­han said. “Granted, I’m bi­ased. But there aren’t a heck of a lot of bet­ter ways to serve the pub­lic than through what we do.”

To bol­ster their work, Ari­zona State and the Univer­sity of Mary­land will re­ceive $3 mil­lion each over the next three years from the Scripps Howard Foun­da­tion to es­tab­lish cen­ters for in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ism for grad­u­ate stu­dents. The gifts were an­nounced in Au­gust.

Jour­nal­ism ed­u­ca­tion has faced chal­lenges in re­cent years as news­rooms have shrunk or re­struc­tured in re­sponse to the dig­i­tal

rev­o­lu­tion. – Washington Post.

Jour­nal­ism stu­dents work in the News Bubbl Bub­ble at the Univer­sity of Mary­land’s Philip Mer­rill Col­lege of Jour­nal­ism.

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