The End of Journalism Education: The Great Good Place

Susan Jacobson (Temple University, USA)

Journalism as a profession, product and concept is undergoing radical transformations brought about by changes in technology, news habits of younger generations, questions about who is a journalist, and shifts in global alignments. We seem to be facing the end of journalism as we know it. But is this “end” the demise of journalism? Or is the purpose of journalism being called into question? And where does this leave journalism education? Taking a cue from Postman’s The End of Education, this paper sees the end of journalism as the search for a new master narrative for the purpose of journalism, and proposes Oldenberg’s notion of the Great Good Place. Oldenberg theorized the existence of “third places” outside the realm of work and home, places of informal public life where people meet to relax and discuss common interests in coffee shops, parks and community centers. This paper first describes how a new purpose of journalism could be conceived of in terms of a third place, focusing on how the migration of news from the printed page to the screen parallels the decline of community space from the physical to the virtual, and how journalism as a third place may embrace notions of the audience as co-creators of journalistic content. The Great Good Place may also serve the mission of journalism education, perhaps preserving Kovach and Rosensteil’s belief that journalism is essential to a democratic society, while justifying the training of students in citizen journalism and multi-platform, multimedia storytelling.

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