Monday, 05 July 2010 20:12

Social media's challenge to J-eds

Written by  Allan Weimann

A fully subscribed syndicate group grappled with one of the most topical issues in journalism education, viz. the Social Media (SM) and how the

introduction of such platforms is likely to influence the nature of journalism training.

At the start of proceedings the point was made strongly by facilitator Julie Posetti and media specialist, Mindy McAdams, of the University of
Florida and author of the blog Teaching Online Journalism.(USA ) that it should be incumbent on all journalism educators, whether formally teaching
new/social media or not,  to keep up –to- date on issues pertinent to SM’s impact. McAdams who is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of online
journalism,  teaches production and theory courses about interactive media and online journalism and  comes out of a background of extensive online and
multimedia journalism training for news organizations.

McAdams highlighted the range of SM which extends considerably beyond what traditionally was termed ‘news media’ and includes  sites such as and where information is loosely shared.  Based on input from members representing a widely differing range of training and
society contexts from around the globe,  it was apparent that the inclusion of SM in aspects of journalism training would be severely  affected by the
availability, or lack of, SM. However, what came out of discussion was that while such access to SM, or the changes that were possibly going to happen
in the arena of such media in future, might differ the concepts relating to their use would not likely to change greatly.

The syndicate then spent  time of  interrogating some of the possible applications of SM to journalism education. Reservations were expressed  in
respect of accuracy and verification issues arising out of the use of information posted on  SM, and of the possiblity of abuse of such SM in the
cause of ‘pushing’ particular political or possible corporate interests. The issue of the ethics underpinning such use of SM sources by journalists and
media organisations elicited suggestions ranging from subscribing to already existing policies on SM usage (suc as Reuter’s handbook) to leaving the
issues for later attenrion and rather  encouraging the increades use of such platforms.
Last modified on Monday, 05 July 2010 20:16

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