As students were locked down during yesterday afternoon’s gun scare at St. John’s University, one enterprising journalism professor decided to make it a “teachable moment.” “Here we are in the middle of a major news event. Where do we turn for information?” professor Mark Prendergast asks in today’s Daily News. Rather than venturing down to the lobby of their building, where people moving around might have more information, the kids turned to their computers. Bypassing the university Website (no info) and personal Websites (too unreliable), they turned to major news Websites and watched and waited. What did they learn?
Prendergast doesn’t quite say. But one can only assume that the aspiring reporters, in the middle of a news story but unable to leave their building, discovered that journalism is often about waiting for somebody else to report something. By foregoing looking at blogs, or making their own phone calls, they turned into inactive participants. If this is what they’re teaching in journalism programs these days, we’re all in trouble. It’s exactly this kind of news environment that makes reporters lazy, and readers feel like they are only ever hearing the same side of story. It’s shameful, really.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have to go find some other story on the Internet to blog about.
When You Are the Story [NYDN]