In my Social Problems course today we discussed the global divide and its causes. During our lecture and debate we addressed the cultural differences between lesser-developed countries and industrialized nations. This topic eventually led to a discussion of the sources of our predjudices and biases toward different cultures. It was interesting to hear how many people, educated college students, blamed the media exclusively for this problem. Some students expressed distaste for the media’s portrayal of other nations, particularly one student from Iran who was extremely offended by the way her country is displayed on national news programs. Other students only partially blamed the media for these stereotypes, stating that many people watch and read news that reinforces their own ideas and opinions. Finally, a few students believe that family is the main influence in the lives of children and teens, especially those that are uneducated and inexperienced. However, the fact that most of the students blame the media for social inequalities inside and outside of our country is truly sad. This is something that needs to be changed.
The popular media blog, Media Shift has created Beyond J-School, a series of videos and blog posts covering important topics in new media. These topics range from How to Teach Social Media in Journalism Schools to Helping Journalism Students Get Tech Skills. These blogs and videos emphasize the importance of multimedia and tech skills in journalism. However, it is hard to gain these skills in the classroom so we have to take advantage of opportunites locally to utilize and expand our talents and strengths. This also makes me wonder, which is more valuable–classroom experience or field experience? What is the best way to reach the top–attend and excel at graduate school or work your way up from the bottom with a news organization? Needless to say, journalism is unsteading and rising journalists are confused, concerned and even a little excited for their futures.