Importance of journalism for “non-journalists”

By Alexandra Klemp

Traditionally, the purpose of journalism courses was to prep fresh, career-seeking young professionals and release them into the world of journalistic reporting. Today’s journalism classes go into many more areas including broadcast media, copy editing, social media, advertising, the web and more.

Journalism education can complement almost any career. The skill set taught in journalism classes are valuable for life, in general, because communication is at the core of everything humans do.

Journalism courses in high school are a solid introduction to learning how to write, to think journalistically and to edit.  Amanda Lee, a journalism teacher at Concordia High School, teaches journalism to “non-journalists” every day.  She strongly encourages most students to take journalism because she knows many of them have the misconception that journalism is just writing.

Journalism goes beyond writing that.  “I believe the concepts of critical thinking, investigative skills and proper grammar are necessary in life, and they are taught in these classes,” Lee said.

Another reason journalism is important is because the current world focuses heavily on the media. The world is becoming more digital and this means clear communication is even more important.

If you hear someone speaking without using proper grammar,  it would sound strange but you could still probably understand them. Printed language, if grammatically incorrect, could be taken a completely different way than what was originally intended.  To avoid this and to stop confusion, people need to know the proper way to structure and edit writing.

Lee said she has strong opinions about young professionals who lack basic communication skills.

“While I understand mistakes can and will happen, they cannot be consistent or prevalent,” she said.

Understanding journalism also would help train people to practice the skills they need in this digital world. Like journalists, people are gathering information every day on their devices. Unlike journalists, most people are not analyzing or critically thinking about the information they gather. Lee said that she believes we have the fake news debacle all over the media today because these journalistic skills are not addressed outside journalism curriculum.

Merely learning to differentiate between fact and opinion is something that many young people would benefit from. If taught like journalists, they would learn to find not just the facts, but also the truth about those facts. (American Press Institute)

I am not a journalism major, but I can testify that journalism classes are teaching a lot more than just journalistic reporting. After I started taking courses, I was more interested in local and national news than ever before. I also have a better understanding of what is going on in this world around me. I know my First Amendment rights, I can edit myself and others, and I am able to better formulate and express my opinions. Journalism class isn’t just for journalists.

 

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