Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Learning Process in Journalism

I was troubled recently by an article I read on PoynterOnline about student journalists. In article titled Student Journalism: Bad Work Undercuts First Amendment, Bob Steele writes about the recent problems in the college journalism industry. As a student of journalism myself, I took this article particularly to heart. Are journalists, particularly student journalists, really abusing the power of the press?

Steele specifically cites two recent incidents involving a faux pas or two by college newspapers. The Princeton University newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, recently came under fire after publishing a joke issue, which Steele describes as "always a bad idea." The other issue, which many of my fellow classmates blogged about, was The Central Connecticut State University satire written titled Rape Only Hurts If You Fight It.
"Student journalists at the high school and college level have a unusual opportunity to learn the craft of journalism and to give members of their school communities meaningful information about relevant issues and events. Given that these are student journalists, the quality of the work may fall short of professional standards."

As an aspiring journalist, I can only hope that Steele wouldn't think of my work in this way. I recently wrote a column for The Simpsonian about my feelings about a rule that will be put into effect at Simpson. I try to use the rule of utility in all that I do, as I think many journalists do. Steele describes his own frustration with student journalits.
"It angers me when I see student journalists throw ethics to the wind and use journalism irresponsibly."

As students, I know that we all are learning. Maybe the articles written were just steps in the learning process, but it's still sad to learn of the pain and anguish they have caused. My own column may have been a little scathing, but I sure hope it didn't cause anyone any pain!


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