I am growing increasingly aware that my perspective on journalism education is far different from that of my classmates. I entered the graduate program at KU so that I might study why journalists do what they do, both good and bad. I came here thinking that I would be among a community of scholars that wants to think about what we are doing as journalists. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that just isn’t happening here.

I didn’t come here to be taught how to be a journalist. Personally, I don’t think that requires much training. I guess the only training I think you need to be a journalist is complete when someone hands you a pad of paper (or a digital camera or a digital recorder) and says, “Go find out what happened!” The rest is interdisciplinary.

You need to be a good writer, you need to take good pictures, you need computer skills, you need to be able to think on your feet, and you need to have an ethical frame of reference that recognizes the duty that journalists have in society, not a re-hash of Aristotle. Journalists are no less important than lawyers, yet are far less revered. I happen to think they are more important. Lawyers do not control the public’s perception of the world around them; journalists do. This is an awesome power that needs to be recognized and contemplated.

My classmates, at least in open discussion, do not do that.

They want job skills.

They are here to learn how to be journalists.

They are here to make good grades.

This is a problem.

This is not going to be the most popular blog entry of the week. People are going to be angry about this. I can see it now: “How dare you tell me what I am thinking?” “Who are you to sit in judgment of journalists?” I am a citizen. That should be enough. Moreover, I am a citizen in their midst. I am simply finding out what is happening. I am a journalist.

The future of journalism education is bleak unless we start talking about our impact in a serious manner. Let’s start today. Leave me a comment.