Carrie Brown-Smith, journalism professor

In a nutshell, the best and really the only way to truly learn journalism is by doing it.
Lectures and textbooks will only take you so far; right off the bat, I send students out to practice interviewing, reporting, and writing. Offering detailed and constructive feedback is particularly important in journalism and its a continual process of improvement as students go from first struggling to master the basics of grammar and writing clearly and concisely to tackling more difficult and meatier topics.
Often I send students out on assignments with relatively little specific instruction, and a lot of the learning comes from critiquing their work and discussing what could be improved in class. Encourage students to read the news and in some courses, have news quizzes to give them the incentive - you cant be a good journalist if you never read any good journalism. I eschew tests - memorization isnt going to get you anywhere, really - in favor of writing and reporting assignments. 
And of course, in this day and age, a strong grounding in the fundamentals - primarily accuracy and verification - is absolutely as critical as it ever was, but its not enough - students are increasingly learning multimedia and social media tools. I encourage my students to constantly experiment using these tools. I try to come up with a variety of different assignments that will get students out of their comfort zone, talking to a variety of different people and encountering different situations and challenges. 
Here’s a blog post of mine that talks a little bit about curricula. Also you might check out the site by Mindy McAdams Teaching Online Journalism.
Carrie Brown-Smith, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
University of Memphis
Department of Journalism


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