Doing it for Real: Designing Experiential Journalism Curricula that Prepare Students for the New and Uncertain World of Journalism Work


  • St Clair Jeanti



journalism education, curriculum design, journalism 2.0


The world of journalism in the digital age is changing faster than university curricula can keep up. News is now produced in forms and on platforms that were nonexistent 10 years ago. Journalists may increasingly generate their own work opportunities in entrepreneurial news outlets and start-ups, rather than as employees in legacy newsprint and broadcast media. Substantial workforce contraction has also occurred since 2012 as revenue in print and other traditional media has found new homes in social media and search engines, and over 1000 journalists (or 15 percent of the journalism workforce) were made redundant. Journalism graduates therefore need to be flexible, innovative and enterprising to survive professionally in this evolving setting. Additionally, financial and funding pressures on universities are leading them to reduce course costs and deliver more courses online. Elongated unpaid internships provide real world experience but access to these will likely reduce as workforces continue to contract. This article considers student feedback from three authentic experiential journalism projects in light of these changing times in journalism. It explores how the performative and very practical nature of traditional and digital journalism skills may be developed through a learning-centred curriculum anchored in authentic and experiential activities and settings. The article briefly considers some of the challenges facing journalism educators in delivering such a curriculum in e-learning settings, and sets out a simple framework for supporting the development of digital media workforce readiness.