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College Media

Learning in Action

Edited By Gregory Adamo and Allan DiBiase

College Media: Learning in Action is a unique resource for journalism educators and students, media advisors, student personnel administrators, and students at any level  – undergraduate or graduate  – interested in learning theory and practice. Sixteen original, scholarly and diverse chapters encompass a wide range of methodologies that detail how students involved in college media organizations have formative experiences in a variety of different forms of publication and electronic media broadcasting. In part, the volume is assembled to help students and educators alike justify their practice and involvement at a time of change when new forms of social media, pressure to quantify learning outcomes, and budget issues in higher education are reshaping the undergraduate media landscape. This volume offers insight into how many journalism and media professionals began their careers and in doing so affirms the value of learning through direct experience and involvement.

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Chapter Six: Lessons Learned: How College Newsrooms Prepare Students for the Professional Newsroom and Beyond (Leigh Landini Wright)


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Lessons Learned

How College Newsrooms Prepare Students for the Professional Newsroom and Beyond


Long before the Knight Foundation’s Eric Newton advocated a teaching hospital model for journalism education, college students toiled away in campus newsrooms to produce a daily or weekly newspaper. Just like professionals at weekly or daily newspapers, the hours were long, the pay low (or in some cases, nonexistent) but the satisfaction of breaking a big story, high.

Their stories didn’t come from a textbook, but rather the news and events happening on their campus or in the community. News about university budget cuts, news about athletes running into legal trouble, news about crime happening on campus. The list could go on. The students worked as legitimate journalists in a university setting to get their stories every day or every week. They asked the same questions as the professional journalists, often with minimal supervision from an adviser, and they experimented with story structures and writing styles, just as the professional journalists did. The only difference came with their hours, sandwiched around classes, or a lower paycheck, or for some students no paycheck as their newsrooms ran as class practicums.

First, let’s examine the teaching hospital model of journalism education that Newton advocates. In an address to Dutch educators in November 2013, Newton, then the senior adviser to the president of the Knight Foundation, outlined his...

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