Journalism and mass communication at academic crossroads in American higher education
Lingwall, James Andrew
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This descriptive research project was undertaken to determine the best way to structure the future of journalism and mass communication education so that it remains a viable discipline within the academy.The Literature Review traces the origins and development of journalism and mass communication education through the 19th and 20 th centuries. It also explores the growth of professional programs in nursing, business, and business administration. These programs were chosen as comparators to view their obstacles, successes, and innovations alongside those of journalism and mass communication education. Parallels between the four programs also are illustrated.To help answer the research question, a survey questionnaire was mailed to the following three cohorts: (a) journalism and mass communications educators at the 108 U.S. programs accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC); (b) a 10 percent sub-sample of faculty members (300) belonging to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC); and (c) the 92 media professionals serving as heads of local professional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). Total participants were 500.In the survey, participants shared their views on the future of journalism and mass communication education through a combination of rank-order items, Likert-type scales, and open-ended questions. Results were used to identify forces in the media industry, the academy, and the classroom that are both limiting and creating new opportunities for the field. The Results chapter discusses differences in response patterns according to cohort. The chapter also makes extensive use of subjects' responses to open-ended items.The Discussion chapter outlines future directions for journalism and mass communication education, discussing its future in terms of (a) the academy, (b) the profession, (c) students and teaching, (d) partnerships with outside organizations, and (e) lessons from comparator programs.
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