James McPherson's Media & Politics Blog

Observations of a patriotic progressive historian, media critic & former journalist


  • By the author of The Conservative Resurgence and the Press: The Media’s Role in the Rise of the Right and of Journalism at the End of the American Century, 1965-Present. A former journalist with a Ph.D. in journalism, history and political science, McPherson is a past president of the American Journalism Historians Association, a board member for the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, and a professor of communication studies at Whitworth University.

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Today’s students

Posted by James McPherson on May 31, 2008

Last night’s “Newshour” had an interesting segment on China and the Internet, discussing areas in which the nation has become more free–and areas in which it hasn’t. Most troubling to me was how little young people seemed to care about their lack of freedom, but then if you’ve never had something, you can’t really know what you’re missing.

The piece also pointed out that Internet users in China are much younger on average than those here in the U.S., reminding me that yet again that the young have different priorities and experiences than those of us who are older. Related to that, as I promised previously, here is another favorite video from Kansas State University’s mediatedcultures.net.

A Vision of Students Today (Michael Wesch)

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9 Responses to “Today’s students”

  1. jordan said

    Thanks for the kind words, James. Great blog. It’s interesting to see the challenges that face the young journos coming out of J school these days, and I commend you for reaching out to your students on “their turf”. It’s quite a different world than when I started out, and the impact of “citizen journalists” cannot be understated. On one hand, I love that anyone can have a voice, but on the other, I feel like it detracts from some of the weight that you carry with the badge of “journalist”. Kudos to you for your good work and helping to shape the education of the journalists of tomorrow! Best, Jordan

  2. James McPherson said

    Thanks, Jordan. Defining who is a journalist has never been easy, it seems, and it gets harder all the time. Of course those we generally recognize as “journalists” don’t seem to be doing the job they could do, so having bloggers pick up some of the slack is good in that respect.

  3. jordan said

    I absolutely agree about having some of the slacked picked up by bloggers, I just wish some of them would at least study the fundamentals! I mean, when it comes to getting out thoughts, go for it, but if it’s presented as “news”, there is a process.
    When you work as a traditional journo, you’re accountable to your audience, readers, news director, what have you. When you’re someone on a blog, the accountability isn’t there for a lot of people. When there’s nothing to stop you from sitting in front of your computer, typing away any kind of nonsense and calling it “news” and it can go around the world in minutes, that scares me a bit. Maybe I’m just too much from the old school, though! I’m honestly impressed at the people that are truly doing a really bang-up job the “right way”, so my hat is off to them 🙂

  4. James McPherson said

    I agree that a lot of folks are doing good things and helping the process along. And bloggers can be held somewhat accountable by their readers, assuming the reader’s comments get through (my last one in response to a Fox News blog never appeared, despite containing neither libel nor profanity).
    I do hope the responsible bloggers aren’t overwhelmed by the clueless angry bunch that will say or pass along about anything to “help” their candidate or cause.
    I also worry that traditional journalism schools seem to be focusing much more on “tools and toys” and less on fundamentals of writing and ethics. And journalism history, a particular favorite of mine, has disappeared altogether at a number of schools, so their students may never know that however they choose to do things isn’t necessarily the way it’s always been done.

  5. […] have been able to report the obvious on their own? Or AP could have just watched the Kansas State video I’ve shared previously–after all, it includes the feedback of two hundred young people, […]

  6. jordan said

    James, have you seen the new Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton? It’s a doozy, not only has political implications, but a plethora of things to be examined from a journalism/ethics standpoint. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2008/07/clinton200807?printable=true&currentPage=all

  7. James McPherson said

    No, Jordan, I hadn’t read it–I’d just read about it, and about Bill’s reaction to it. Thanks for the link, which I notice you also included on your site. By the way, you may have noticed I’ve added your site (http://jordansays.wordpress.com/) to my links, and have enjoyed readiing it.

  8. jordan said

    Thanks James, I appreciate it, and have enjoyed reading your blog as well. time will tell what happens with Hillary, though with Bill’s telling remarks today and Obama’s prediction that tomorrow is the “clincher”, it seems to be shaping up to be an interesting Tuesday in the political arena!

  9. […] people view the world. Many of the videos have much to teach the rest of us, too. I’ll share another favorite, about modern education, some other […]

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