With the troubled state of today’s newspapers and a tenuous, still-evolving model of online journalism, what is the role of the high school journalism teacher? A robust and multifaceted one, as evidenced by Teach_J, the blog of Robert Courtemanche, a journalism and media technology teacher near Houston, Tex.
Courtemanche considers the many motivations and temptations facing today’s online journalists, including the issue of writing about certain topics simply to drive up traffic and links—or even to cater to advertisers. These concerns have always been present in journalism, but he observes that they are an even larger issue online: “I think as we go forward, ethics and journalism are going to be more important as the temptation to game the system and cater to advertisers will be greater than ever, but I worry that the economics of journalism in the future may make these concepts seem outdated.” Sounds like a great discussion topic for your next class in journalism—or social studies.
He also notes the irony that most social media, including his own blog, is blocked by the Web filter at his school in the post “The Web Is Everywhere But Our Schools.” Kids are increasingly going around such filters as more and more of them carry Web-enabled cell phones, making the school’s policy seem ineffective as well as overbroad. As journalism increasingly goes online and becomes more interactive, what message does it send to journalism students that many such sites are blocked at school?
Reading Courtemanche’s blog makes the topic of journalism more vital and exciting than ever. Check it out at http://teachj.wordpress.com/.