I have a degree in News/Internet Journalism from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
I learned a whole lot. Worked with smart people. Even won an award or two.
Thus, I was honored when I was recently asked to join the J-School’s Junior National Alumni Council based on my young career in communications and my interest in emerging media.
It’s got me thinking about my education and all that I’ve learned since walking the stage.
In hindsight, I look back and realize that the awkwardly named News/Internet major offered a whole lot of news knowledge and not much on the Internet.
Here’s a few startling things I realized – so much so that I consider them confessions:
- It took nearly four months after graduation for me to read my first blog post.
- Facebook was a repository for profane wall posts and booze pics. None of us who spoke about communication on a daily basis noticed the bigger picture.
- I never realized the insanity of the term SJMC (School of Journalism and Mass Communication) – “Mass” has nothing to do with communication. How many people receive your message is a by-product of how good the content is and how easy it is for them to receive it.
- Social media was a scary thing (even though we were all watching YouTube and using Facebook). The thought of random people commenting on traditional news stories was considered silly. In reality, it’s only the tip of a giant, wonderful iceberg.
- I thought having a Web site required a programmer.
- I didn’t know how Google did what it does.
- For most of my education, I was under the assumption that the audio, video and photo portions of the news were someone else’s job.
Now that I’ve listed a few of the disappointments, let me say that I feel privileged to have studied under some of the best and brightest journalism educators. What I’m not listing in this post is the countless diverse industry topics we covered, the consistent emphasis on ethics and the overall high standards for the work we put forth. Hell, it’s even possible we covered a point or two that I’ve listed (but if so, not enough!).
In short, Drake’s J-School kicks ass. So much ass that a whole lot of us are looking introspectively to see how we can improve the experience and better prepare future generations of communicators.
The council will be meeting later this month. Drake alumni or not, feel free to offer a shout out on your suggestions, your additions (or subtractions) to my list… all that good stuff.
I gave you my list, what’s yours?