Monday, Feb. 18, 2008

Mea Culpa Monday - Masters of Science in Journalism edition

By Joe Uchill
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I swear upon swearing that academics are very smart people, and it’s incredibly inappropriate for me to take childish delight at Columbia Graduate School of Journalism Dean Nicholas Lemann accidentally sending his class a self evaluation rather than the intended project evaluations. The self evaluation would have been (and after being posted at Romenesko, is being) used to evaluate whether his dean-i-ness will be renewed. Which all would have been innocuous enough if it didn’t end with these nuggets:

I cannot be sure how long our school can continue to thrive if the profession it serves is not thriving.

I don't think I have been nearly effective enough in persuading either our own Journalism School community, or other journalism schools, or the wider world of the profession, that the professional education of a journalist should include intellectual content... [A]lmost the entire discourse in journalism education is internal to journalism and concerned with professional norms and practices, rather than with how to understand the world we are supposed to cover.


The letter, as a whole, is a great, honest and open meditation about journalism, and the role of the university in the process. I wouldn’t be nervous rehiring him. But I’d be shivering to be one of his unintellectual students entering into a not-thriving field. Hell, I’m now more nervous about being unintellectual in a not-thriving field.


Stop terrifying me Columbia. I don’t even go to your school.

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