Can Computer Nerds Save Journalism?
Word to those who think the Internet spells the end of traditional print media: 'hacker journalists' have arrived to save the day. (Read 'The State of the Media: Not Good.')
A cadre of newly minted media whiz kids, who mix high-tech savvy with hard-nosed reporting skills, are taking a closer look at ways in which 21st century code-crunching and old-fashioned reporting can not only coexist but also thrive. And the first batch of them has just emerged from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. (See 10 ways your job will change.)
They've just completed a new master's program at Medill — with scholarships from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation — aimed at training programmers in basic journalism so they can better understand how technology is impacting the industry and trying to engineer change down the road. Medill isn't the only higher-education institution blending computer programming and journalism; at other schools such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, traditional J-school programs are incorporating a dose of tech-thumping.