The Future of Journalism Education: 2013 Poynter NewsU Survey

9:50 PM Jul. 30, 2013 — by Vicki Krueger

Updated Aug. 8, 2013

On Aug. 8, we released the results of our 2013 survey on the future of journalism education. We asked more than 1,800 journalism educators, media professionals and students what they thought about journalism education now and its prospects for the future.

We've assembled a white paper with detailed findings, related articles and research. The State of Journalism Education 2013 is available for download as a PDF.

The study was conducted under the guidance of Howard Finberg, Poynter's director of training partnerships and alliances and the creator of Poynter's NewsU. His thoughts about the research are in this article on Journalism Schools Need to Adapt or Risk Becoming Irrelevant.

Some key findings:

  • Today, 96 percent of journalism educators believe that a journalism degree is very important to extremely important when it comes to understanding the value of journalism. However, only 57 percent of media professionals believe the same.

  • More than 80 percent of educators but only 25 percent of media professionals say a journalism degree is extremely important when it comes to learning news gathering skills.

  • Thirty-nine percent of educators say journalism education is keeping up with industry changes a little or not at all. Editors and staffers are even harsher, with 48 percent saying the academy isn’t keeping up with changes in the field.

  • Thinking back to the last person their organization hired, only 26 percent of media professionals say the person had “most” or “all” of the skills necessary to be successful.

Many respondents were especially candid about the way forward. Here are just a few of the responses we received:

  • Neil Foote, a principal lecturer in the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas: "We have to blow up our current curriculum to understand how this generation of students learns -- and how they can best use their talents to become the communications leaders of today -- and tomorrow."

  • "Even motivated, well-intentioned journalism educators are hamstrung when facing monstrous academic bureaucratic hurdles," says Barbara Allen, student media adviser and lecturer at Oklahoma State University. "Our lack of dexterity hinders our students."

  • Adam Bagni, sports anchor and reporter for WJAR: "Students need to be ready to shoot, edit, write, use social media, and work quickly...and most of them aren't. In general, it's difficult to find people talented enough to perform all of those skills well."

New Survey on Skills and Attributes

We have also launched a companion survey. While the future is always uncertain, we want to know more about what makes a journalist successful. We're interested in learning what skills, attributes, and knowledge areas you think would be important to the beginning journalist as she looks toward her career in the digital/mobile age.

If you would like to share your opinions about the various skills, attributes and knowledge areas that are important for today's beginning journalist, please click here.

As a thank you for completing the survey, you'll receive a code for a 35 percent discount on a future Webinar or a Webinar replay at Poynter NewsU. It's our gift of training.