Journalism required critical thinkers and innovators.
Instead, it got rote narcissists with a bad case of hubris.
The tradition continues. I have chronicled the works of j-school students here, showing their numbness to reality and truth.
I went to j-school. I graduated without owing a penny. I got myself jobs in the profession, but as I have mentioned before, I was not in love with the profession at the time. Journalism was going to be what I studied by working as a journalist.
But I remember worrying at the time about my job prospects when I was in j-school, even though I had a newspaper column at a big city daily, because even then, there were big job losses going on in Canadian journalism back in 1995-6.
Some of my classmates said that was nothing to worry about because that meant those outlets would merely hire our generation to fill those holes because we’d be cheaper.
It didn’t exactly work out that way, however. There was no turn around.
I have met many j-school grads over the years — most who never got a job in the profession. The ones who did had to leave because they either lost their job, or were fired because the company couldn’t afford to keep even the cheap labour.
J-schools have made no core change to rejuvenate the profession at all. Journalism became outright propaganda waging war on people and groups they do not like.
That is not journalism. You have people who are meddlers telling other people they are thinking wrong.
People now have social media, and despite the campaign to weaken it, the current scandal is being overblown.As I have said before, people mostly use social media as a form of amateur public relations, and a lot of assumptions about people are unwarranted. More women voted for Trump than Clinton in the last election. A lot of people who are the most strident online often do the very opposite of what they pretend to believe. People with an image of happiness take their own lives, people who cheat on their spouses talk glowingly about their marriage, and people who break the law go an attack others so people wouldn’t suspect them.
But you don’t need journalism anymore. You need to get rid of all of the rot from the ground up, and start fresh without the baggage and the confines.
It is no hope that you still have the oblivious and the gullible going into the profession, but as the University of Wisconsin’s recent move hints, humanities and social sciences are not delivering, and administration is not going to revamp these programs, but shut them down.
Oxford University is no longer accepting candidates for a Doctor of Letters in the English department, either. Communications education — fiction or nonfiction — is in a freewill, and we are not seeing the kinds of innovative minds coming in to change anything. They are following the same structural scripts. They are already making the same logical mistakes that sunk the ship they wish to sail in.
This isn’t going to save journalism.
We need something else that reflects the world we live in right now — not the one that never existed fifty years ago.
Once upon a time, universities were the innovators who created new professions in those Ivory Towers. Now, they play it safe, following trends and not creating them.
I know because I have been knocking on doors trying to do something about it.
Those going willingly into a dead profession have misperceptions of reality — because if they truly wanted to combat “fake news” — they would first see all the fake news that profession was responsible for spreading. They would bypass j-schools and go into disciplines that would give them the necessary tools to combat it.
They won’t be helpful because it is the same kind of people who went into the profession before — to tell the world what to think instead of giving the world the facts they need to form their own plans that are tailer-made for their own life requirements.
What you have is a group of young minds who bought a narrative — there is no sense of realism, critical thinking, vigilance, or skepticism, and that helps no one in the short term or long term.
And that is a very troubling sign for the times…