哥伦比亚大学也还是有些说法的。或许有些人正在重新考虑该如何来教授那些能让新一代的记者一个个都成为合格的“Mc Laughlin 集团”的成员的技巧。
现在你可能会感到奇怪为什么你会在意这件事。显然，新闻媒体正如现代巫术一样具有广泛的覆盖面。它消息灵通，无所不能。主宰着一切，从Britney Spears 的流行到美国是否会发动战争打击伊拉克。从来不去在乎这些报道究竟有多少的'现实性。只有猜测。
来源: www.nytimes.com, 中华传媒网编辑编译
What They Don't Teach at J-School
By CLYDE HABERMAN
YOU may have read that Columbia University's new president, Lee C.Bollinger, has suspended the search for a new dean of the university'sGraduate School of Journalism. First, Mr. Bollinger said, the schoolmust re-examine its mission in a world that is uncertain, rapidlyevolving, globalizing, information-hungry, market-driven and so on andso forth.
One can only imagine what must be going through the minds of studentswho just began 10 months of study at the J-school, as this trainingground for news gatherers is commonly called. Here they are — they ortheir parents or their loan sharks — paying more than $30,000 to a placethat now has no permanent leader and admits, after having cashed thetuition checks, that it is not sure what it is all about.
Still, Columbia may have a point. Perhaps some rethinking is in order onhow to teach the skills that will qualify a new generation ofjournalists to scream at one another on "The McLaughlin Group."
Since Mr. Bollinger spoke out, people in the news business have debatedthe J-school's future. Some professors and alumni have expressed concernthat the gritty basics of the craft will give way to ethereal courses incommunications theory and the like. How in the name of Brenda Starr, theworriers say, will that help young reporters know what to do when newssources hang up on them five minutes before deadline? The fretting hasled to assurances from David A. Klatell, the school's acting dean, thatany curriculum changes will not undermine "our traditional `craft'offerings."
By now, you may be wondering why you should care. Simple. The news mediais widely cast as a modern Wizard of Oz, all-knowing and all-powerful,deciding everything from the popularity of Britney Spears to whether theUnited States goes to war against Iraq. Never mind if this squares withreality. The perception is there.
And given that, can we afford to have journalists who are dumber than isabsolutely necessary? Their training matters to every American,including a columnist who, despite never having gone to the J-school,has a few thoughts on the subject.
FOR starters, young news gatherers have to know how to use technologywisely. That being the case, they must be taught to always carry a pencil.
Computers crash, Palm Pilots fail, ballpoint pens freeze in harsh coldand felt-tip pens are useless when covering something like a fire; thespray from the hoses washes away the ink. Pencils never let you down —as long as you keep them sharp, of course.
Young journalists need to learn foreign languages, the more exotic thebetter. Think of the job they could do in Afghanistan if they spokePashto. Then again, who wants to sleep on a mud floor in Kandahar?Better to stick with French, preparing for a Paris assignment andevenings at all those restaurants run by Alain Ducasse (whose name, bythe way, means "Give me your wallet").
A course in ethics is inevitable. Alternatively, students can save timefor more interesting pursuits by simply remembering that journalisticethics is that which some are prepared to toss out the window if thestory is big enough.
Young reporters need to be taught to avoid clichés like the plague.
They must also be told never to enter a dangerous situation with aphotographer at their side. Photographers are crazy. The best ones areabsolutely nuts. They stand right there while people are shooting ateach other. You can get hurt that way.
Forget about courses that teach phrases like "off the record,""background" and "deep background." Nobody really understands thedistinctions. Besides, they are generally useless unless you want tospend your career in Washington, waiting, as Russell Baker said, forpoliticians to come out from behind closed doors to lie to you.
Every J-school needs a survival course. Let's say that you are assignedto cover an event where food is served. An inflexible rule is to eatfirst and take notes second. To borrow from Bernard Bard, a colleague atThe New York Post years ago, if it ain't catered, it ain't journalism.
Finally and this one is critical — J-school students must learn never toprepare their expense-account statements when they are in a good mood.The tendency is to err in the company's favor. They will make out farbetter when really angry.
Come to think of it, that's sound financial advice for everyone. Memo toMr. Bollinger: You may want to tinker with the business school'scurriculum while you're at it.
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