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Apr 14 / King Kaufman

What do journalism “students”—that means all of us—need to know?

Author Mark Briggs is working on the next edition of his textbook “Journalism Next: A Practical Guide to Digital Reporting and Publishing,” and last week he asked readers of his Journalism 2.0 blog for advice.

“In looking at the chapter topics, I’m wondering if I need to include a separate chapter on blogging in the next edition? Is that still relevant?” he wrote. “What about a basic understanding of how the web works? Still needed in 2014? Or audio? Is that helpful for students to learn? (I had one professor tell me yesterday that, yes, it is.)”

Briggs, the director of digital media for KING5 Television in Seattle, then listed the chapter topics from the most recent edition of the book, which I found interesting. Here they are:

1. How the web works
2. Blogging for better journalism
3. Crowd-powered collaboration
4. Microblogging and social media
5. Going mobile
6. Visual storytelling with photographs
7. Making audio journalism visible
8. Telling stories with video
9. Data-driven journalism and digitizing your life
10. Managing news as a conversation
11. Building a digital audience for news

This is not your grandfather’s textbook, with its chapters on the inverted pyramid and whether to use a tape recorder for interviews. And by your grandfather’s, I mean mine!

Mindy McAdams, who teaches journalism at the University of Florida, also seemed to find that chapter list interesting. She writes:

This is a good outline for beginner journalism students. This is not a list of things they should learn in an elective course—all of these are basic to being a reporter in the 21st century. The first and second required courses in a journalism curriculum need to cover all of these.

She goes on to talk about what she thinks is missing from Briggs’ list, as he’d requested. That includes encryption for reporters and, via some tweets from others, coding for reporters and design and visualization.

Though both Briggs and McAdams talk about what “journalism students” need to learn and know, I think it’s useful for all of us to think about these things. Media and technology change so fast now—and there’s no reason to believe that will ever cease to be the case—that we’re all students. Always. Either that or we’re eating dust.