Joy Jenkins and Mimi Perreault, University of Missouri
As journalism schools focus on providing students with practical training for a changing media environment, immersive education structured in real-world newsrooms can serve as a learning lab.
Studies have suggested that teaching approaches that allow students to engage with community members within an established network (Barabasi 2003; Beckett 2008; Castells 2000; Jarvis 2006), rather than creating content with an imagined audience in mind, can enhance students’ understanding of journalism’s democratic function as a component of news literacy (Mensing 2010). This emphasis may also introduce students to newswork incorporating the values of civic journalism, as socialization within newsrooms has shown to play a key role in journalists’ acceptance of these practices (McDevitt, Gassaway, and Perez 2002). Although journalism programs have used hands-on experiences to instill tacit knowledge of the roles and functions of public journalism and develop more civic-minded practitioners (Haas 2000; Nip 2007), public-journalism training should also incorporate multimedia techniques. Further, multiplatform approaches to storytelling should allow students to apply a variety of converged skills while also interacting with audiences (Condra 2006), opportunities that professional media environments can easily provide…..