News in twentieth century America; Education in journalism
The following program was produced and recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting services under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters news in 20th century America. A series of radio documents on the gathering writing and dissemination of news compiled from interviews with the men and women who make news their business. I look upon the capacity to write lucidly an interesting Lee as vital but unless you invest that with a capacity to think and to appraise and to understand then I believe the basic equipment isn't there. So just as I would say that the only place we're going to get. The al are space scientists of the present in the future are probably universities. The place where we're going to get. Newspaper men are adequately trained and intellectually equipped. It will be from my universe the voice is that of Roscoe Drummond Washington columnist with The New York Herald Tribune. You will hear the voices of other
newsman as well as teachers on the subject of education for journalism. Today's edition of news in 20th century America. Now here is your host at Burroughs. Last week we were given a composite portrait of the newsman of the future and told some of the requirements he must meet. How can he best prepare himself to meet those requirements. What should he be taught. What should he know. Nope an acre is editor of The Chicago Sun Times a young man coming out of college. An applicant for a job or editorials Dana. Well of course I wish the colleges and schools are teaching this bell they don't seem to do that too well any longer. We seem to have to take them no matter what college what university they come from and teach him this bell about the first thing but taken as a whole are probably better prepared for a career on a newspaper today than they were in the past. When I applied for my first
job on a newspaper I well remember I was asked had a graduated from high school but we wouldn't think of hiring a man on the editorial staff today when at least graduated from college. We have four or five people on our editorial staff today who have been D degrees we have people who have a large number who have master's degrees. We place a great deal of emphasis in considering applications on the amount of formal education the young man has had and generally speaking overall a more formal education has had the better prospect here. And we. Probably wouldn't consider hiring a youngster today unless he had at least his bachelor's degree before now and then we've taken the lead who's worked here for a long time as a.
Copy boy was gone the night school has done a great deal toward his own self-improvement and given him an opportunity and in some cases they make good. But our policy is that we want a. College graduate and a more college training they have master's degrees doctor's degrees and all of that the better we gain get too much education. Let's hear next from Morris Fischer city editor of The Chicago Daily News. And what we should expect from a future journalist. Well I think more and more we are coming to expect a formal education of the future journalist. A man should be well-versed of course in the tools and things that he's going to have to use principly language and by language I mean American or English. He should be pretty well I would pretty good background in name in history and in
economics. You don't necessarily require that he be an expert in science although there is so much more a good deal of emphasis being put on that. Some men are making a specialty of that sort of thing as to worry is going to get this formal education. I don't think there is least in my opinion there's too much concern about that so far as paperwork is concerned obviously if a man goes to a journalism school it indicates a basic interest in the business. The fact that he goes to a journalism school however doesn't necessarily mean that he's going to be a qualified newspaper man when he emerges. I think there is something beyond the formal education a man must have. What we like to call a feel for the business. Or as my a city editor said Come lean used to say street savvy. A sort of intuitive awareness of not only what goes on around you but of which way to move. When circumstances
indicate you should move a resourcefulness going to journalism school does not teach that to a young man or young woman aspiring to a career in the newspaper work. And if they do possess it. I say this with all due respect to two journalism schools in the good work they do. If a person does possess this street savvy or this awareness this. It will not hurt him. In other words going to drink if you have if you have a feel for the business during going to journalism journalism school will not hurt you. If you don't have a feel for this business going to journalism school will not help you. What should students of journalism be taught. Franco a grand editor of the Memphis Commercial Appeal primarily to Bal. I am Zoe's chagrin and find college graduates who cannot spell.
And who do not know the fundamentals of American history. And this is less Amazing do not know on the governmental and legal processes. But there is no excuse for any youngster with a college degree not knowing how to spell not knowing the background of its his country's origin and not knowing something about the political system there. Now I don't think that a diploma or certificate from the School of Journalism is a passport to success. We've had a number of young man and women who came from other schools at universities other than their journalism school and have been very successful. But they knew how to
think clearly what it down on paper with a minimum of confusion and they had logic in their on their side. But I do think just like in any other. School or department that the journalism department gives a young man or woman to as he steps up on one who has not had journalism training. There's no question about it. While they share a fact that they know their way around a newsroom is quite a bit on their side. Incidentally Will there be drugs available for these journalism graduates. Franco good once again. Yeah science think that you know the University of Michigan and certainly and the other universities
where I have visited there is almost always there are always more jobs available and there are. Graduates of the schools and departments of journalism to fill them. Now it's true that a great many of them don't go into the editorial rooms or the advertising offices of the newspapers they find their way into public relations or. Advertising agencies other first suits but I think that there certainly is a great future for those boys and girls who want genuinely want to go into the newspaper business and was surprised some of them that the compensation is much greater than the movies depict in their so-called newspaper pictures
and the conditions under which they work are far more pleasant. Now. I'm aware that there's some philosophy abroad in the land that engineering students and. Khamis that sort of thing can get a higher starting salary than most newspapers offer young aspiring journalists. But. We must keep in mind that newspapering is an inexact science. And a man or woman who. Writes very well. As far as readability is concerned may not turn out to be a good news gatherer or a processor. And newspapers must necessarily span months sometimes years with these youngsters.
If we are going to determine if they're going to be successful journalists. I think that we must keep in mind most successful authors were. At one time journalists newspaper people. So there's a rewarding factor at the end there for them. And then Dylan's a very delightful way to. Work. I always found that sell on the job situation. Harry Ashmore executive editor of In Little Rock Arkansas Gazette has this to say. Well. I think that. Taking the total field of communication. That it is an expanding industry one with greater economic opportunities for those going into it. Than we've ever known before. This is not. Strictly true of the newspaper proportion of it but again taking the medium media collectively the communication the media that from an
economic standpoint. I think the opportunities for people to advance and make. A decent living are better than they ever have been before certainly they're better than they've been in my time. You know it's the how. We should train and prepare a journalist. I have a perhaps classic and conservative view. I have always been critical of professional schools of journalism probably because I didn't attend one. Certainly professional schools of journalism at the undergraduate level. I think that what a journalist needs. Is. The broadest possible general education. And I personally am jealous of anything that cuts into that time at the undergraduate level and even at the graduate level. Beyond that he needs an instinct for the business and that's the best word I can apply to it. Some natural talent or skill for writing which doesn't have to be a high one. What is essential and I doubt it can be acquired or taught.
And yes to have a kind of curiosity and temperament. That this business requires. There are many people like that. And. I don't think we're going to run out of talent. And I hope that we're going to continue to reward that talent adequately to keep the best journalists in the trade. The greatest problem we having right now is not our ability to attract bright kids but to keep them. After their trade. And that's largely an economic that. We can do very well with the starting wage we can bring a man along pretty well through his first five or six years so that income is comparable to that he'd be making almost anything he wanted to with there are the opportunities for further economic advancement began to get pretty slender will never be able to compete solely in money terms with advertising. Public relations business. I think what we have to look for is high standards and adequate in. Even though it's
lore offering additional compensation. Journalist being considered. Perhaps people comparable to educators college professors. Getting a decent wage getting some security. And. Being willing because of the attraction of the job. To work for perhaps less than they could make in the marketplace with business and commerce. I don't think that's impossible I think that some newspapers have come very close to it already. Mickelson vice president in charge of news for the Columbia Broadcasting System speaks for the broadcast journalist of the future. Well I think I've seen an enormous change in news broadcasters correspondents we call them and reporters in the past four or five years. I think we're going along way toward already creating a new type of broadcast journalist a broadcast journalist who is conscious not only of words but is also conscious of pictures.
It seems to me will certainly carry on in this general direction. It seems to me will be developing reporters who are big time reporters and our reporters as well as reporters and they come when they accepted wire service or newspaper sense as to the backgrounds they need. Course it's obvious that as events grow more complex as developments and government grow more complex as the interrelationships of countries go more complex greater educations are necessary. Of course there's more need for persons with a scientific background in the reporting field now to have a better understanding of space and all of the implications of space. And it's obviously true that we need persons with a greater knowledge of government and differences between governments and governmental theory. It's particularly important right now I think that we have reporters of more background in economics because economics is playing such a
significant role in the interrelationships of the USSR and the USA and the blocks attached to both of the countries the mana education the more real understanding we can get the better the job will be able to do a representative of the wire services. Frank Starr's general manager of the Associated Press comments on this matter of education for tomorrow's generalist. Matter of education. Man can always produce an argument. There are those who stand. For example at. The so-called journalism subjects should be de-emphasized. I have no views on that. I would have to agree with this if so called technical and practical subjects and journalism. Were so numerous as to exclude. Individuals getting
a broad liberal education. I think that would be wrong. Education is only a means to an end. And I doubt very much with any great number of those men could set out after finishing high school or very very school going to college and say I intend to be a science reporter and aviation reporter and therefore I will take courses at college which will prepare me for that. There may be individuals who have said Steadfast purposes that they will succeed in that. But I doubt again on the whole battle happens. We know that many individuals from more are diverted from. There are goals in more formalized endeavors and you never say don't never become engineers it's.
A If the education. But education courses. Stimulate. The man or want. To be curious about things going on around it. And giving you some insight. Into sources for information. There's still a lot of very readable copy that. Could be put into a current context comes out of textbooks and it has been done time and again in many fields economics for example. But if there are. If the education produces that kind of curiosity. And there is coupled with it. A sufficient practical knowledge of the language. I think that a good education.
The argument goes on even among educators themselves Dr. Charles Mann is chairman of the Department of Communications and education at New York University on what the journalist should be taught he says. Nothing to do with journalism. In my judgment they should be taught first and foremost that use and care often concern for the English language. Has to be abused. And I think they should Secondly be taught and disciplined. In the art of Straight and Crooked Thinking. A man who has mastered his own time. Who knows and loves the literature and constitute the English language. Has the door with which to communicate. As a journalist. And the any other to what I think he wants beyond the experience he can gather enough he has the capacity of a trained mind to distinguish between the two in the polls at the objective level of facts and his appraisal of persons. These basic disciplines aren't necessarily peculiar to a school of journalism.
But then that raises perhaps the question whether there should be a school of journalism. But I would put all add up things secondary to those two things. I not very much interested in mock schools of journalism though in providing the techniques of copyrighting and its all the technical details. I know in broadcasting if it's a fact parallel. Some of my professional friends have long since said two colleges that have established these radio departments. That we would much rather you send us educated people. Than people who have been taught direction and scriptwriting and the good mix of the business which they can acquire in rapid order under our direction once they come to us but for Heaven's sense sake sent us trained minds. And in these days when the problems on which journalists report are as complex as they are. The quality of writing and the quality of thinking that goes to the interpretation of what events mean seem to be transcendently important. This I'm sure from any point of
view. From the point of view of any school of journalism maybe heresy but that's just my view. We obtained some pointed reflections on education for journalism. When we asked Marilyn Smith of United Press International to prescribe the requirements for the News of the future. Well that's a large order and I'm probably will have to answer that superficially I'll just tell you two or three ideas in my mind. Things we see now. I think it means that the news man of the future. When he approaches his education is going to be forced to attach much more importance to devote much more time to a broader range of subjects. What I'm getting at is that I think there may have to be. A reduction. In our
curricula. Of courses. That deal with the how journalism the technique of journalism and then greater concentration on signs and languages and geopolitics. I think that the newsman of the future of peace to be a rounded person. A man who can exist in almost any medium has got to know from there on the college level an awful lot more about contemporary history or past history because contemporary history doesn't mean very much unless you know what went before. He's got to have a working knowledge of science. And I as to his knowledge of math edge problematic but he's got to be conversant and wanted to foreign languages and that does not mean squeaking through one year on French. He's got to know about geography the world is getting too small
for a college senior to be a Pakistani you're Pakistani You can't do it you've got to know where it is. Because you'll be able to get there in four five hours. I think there has got to be a greater understanding of the element because they're going to play an increasingly important partner alive. Now all of this is got to be done consistent with training a man for especially which in our case right here is journalism. I think that it would seem to me and I'm Lord knows I'm not an educator would seem to me more. Likely or more of it would be preferable to concentrate for college years on the liberal art and then possibly late in college. Or possibly even in graduate school. Then the time to go into techniques.
Or there should be an understanding of the basis of journalism. But I know a man coming with our new station now what I'd rather that fella have is is a broad base of knowledge and zeal for his job. And I would an awful lot of technique that might be using out of date series that we have to really learn to reteach. I know this might not be popular with a lot of journalism school professors I've argued this case from one end of the country to the other. There are some awful good friends in journalistic education. I get a lot of simple things I think a journalism school ought to teach a man how to dictate more and more in the news business. The reporter who calls up a rewrite man and said Brother Was there ever a big wreck out here at Seven Corners and then tells it to this rewrite man chronologically sure he gets all the names and ages right.
But tell the dream chronologically then the rewrite man takes his nodes and puts it down in written form that my friend is going to disappear from the face of journalism. We've virtually eliminated that here in Washington. Our reporters call into a battery dictation it with headphones on it on their ears and a typewriter and our boys dictate complete copy. Coding of punctuation and if it's a hot story send a presidential news conference it's ripped right out of the typewriter paragraph or time put right in to tell time by the time on and I know our Prescott by the time I got in my fifth paragraph my first paragraph in Honk on. Well there again is practice but I do think I've talked this over with the journalism deans at Georgia and Indiana Northwestern several other schools and they all agreed to find saying
yeah they ought to be taught how to dictate or a lot of other would be taught to be moral. Then know quite how to go about it. I say that's to specialize a lot rather a fellow coming to work for me know how to dictate and I would have him know the intricate history of moving type. And finally we went to Dr. Frank Luther Mott dean emeritus of the nation's oldest School of Journalism at the University of Missouri and in fact the honorary dean of all journalism educators. Oh. Well. I think. Most of us. Believe that there should be strong emphasis on the liberal arts. Laughter. Something like three fourths of the four years should be very definitely devoted to liberal education. But I do think that there should be some.
Technical education so they can become Be generous with the things are going to happen. Work with when they get into active journalism and I think in the third place that we have to teach them to think we have to teach them to be really thinking human being reacted all grant college of Sats what we need and that's what we need culturally. That's the most precious thing we have. Glad to know I don't. I must make it too sweeping. I think I think a moral stance is very important but I'd say a moral sense and tell if you can put it together and you have almost a perfect character. What conclusions if any can we draw from these comments by newspaperman broadcasters and teachers of journalism. The news man of the future will be university educated. His training in the techniques of Journalism must be balanced by a more profound knowledge of the liberal arts. In the long run imagination
intelligence clear thinking will be the major assets of the journalist of the future. You have been listening to education for journalism the last in a series of programs on news in 20th century America. In this series we have explored all facets of gathering writing and dissemination of news in this country today by means of recorded interviews with leading news men and women interviewers for the series were Glen Phillips and Ed Burroughs. Professor Kenneth Stewart of the University of Michigan Department of journalism served as consultant. News in 20th century America was produced by the University of Michigan broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. Larry Jones speaking. This is the Radio Network.
- Education in journalism
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- University of Michigan
- National Association of Educational Broadcasters
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- University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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- Episode Description
- This program focuses on the ways that aspiring journalists should be trained and prepared.
- Series Description
- A series of documentaries on the gathering, writing and dissemination of news in this country today, compiled from interviews with journalists. Guests in this series include H.V. Kaltenborn, Roy Larsen, John Daly, Douglass Cater, Drew Pearson, Quincy Howe, Mike Wallace, Norman Cousins, David Brinkley, James Hagerty, Howard K. Smith, Marquis Childs, Merriman Smith, Gilbert Seldes, Fulton Lewis, Jr., Sig Mickelson, H.R. Baukhage, Roscoe Drummond, and many others.
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Announcer: Jones, Larry
Host: Gardiner, C. Harvey (Clinton Harvey)
Interviewee: Mickelson, Sig
Interviewee: Ashmore, Harry S.
Interviewee: Drummond, Roscoe, 1902-1983
Interviewee: Akers, Milburn P.
Interviewee: Fisher, Morris
Interviewee: Algren, Frank
Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-48-29 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- APA: News in twentieth century America; Education in journalism. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-rj48tv1x