Can Journalism Schools Save The World?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

A pair of writers in The Washington Monthly seem to believe they can. “If the federal government won’t play a bigger role in protecting the free press internationally, one sector of America that could fill the gap is American higher education,” Frank Islam and Ed Crego write in The Washington Monthly. “That might seem unlikely, but it turns out that some of the most active efforts to support reporters abroad are run by journalism schools at U.S. colleges and universities.”

“In particular, Columbia University, Northwestern University, the University of Southern California, Western Kentucky University, and the University of Missouri focus strongly on international students and offer fellowships or provide them financial support.”

“One of the most effective programs is the Alfred Friendly Press Partners (AFPP), which is allied with the Missouri School of Journalism. Founded in 1983 by Alfred Friendly, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter, AFPP brings journalists to the United States for training seminars at the University of Missouri-Columbia campus and five-month placements in newsrooms around the country, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Miami Herald, Los Angeles Times, Time, Huffington Post, Forbes, The Center for Public Integrity, and ProPublica.”

Islam–“an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and thought leader”–and Crego, a management consultant, provide a trio of impressive examples of same. Moreover, completely private efforts to add to existing media are always welcome because they provide real diversity.

Nevertheless, they don’t give us the overall numbers on the program, so that we have no idea how many fellows stay here, even engaged in pursuits outside of journalism, compared to those who go home to ply their trade. Yet and still, is interning with American outlets whose errors have spawned an entire fact-checking industry, the best training for journalists?