Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Should journalism students be taught HMTL?

Many thanks to my colleague Kieran Daly for spotting this version of the chestnut "Should journalists be taught HTML?". This time, the question is posed by the appealingly alliterative Mindy McAdams.

For us, the question is mostly an "old dog new tricks" issues, but Mindy is speaking from a pedagogue's perspective (Damn. Can't stop myself alliterating now Mindy, you Minx)

Anyhoo, I think the answer is almost certainly "yes and no" but my bigger, stroppier questions are "What the hell are they teaching kids in school these days?" and "What kind of skills and attributes should a prospective journalist student have?"

Stroppy Question 1. What the hell are they teaching kids in school these days?

I have no idea, but based purely on casual observation, it sure as hell isn't touch-typing (or, "keyboard skills" as it's probably called these days) which I find amazing. So many people work on a computer (and those that don't probably use one at home) that it's amazing that touch typing isn't a mandatory subject in school in the interests of productivity and health and safety (RSI and all that).

As for learning HTML, well, given that they use computers in schools, you wouldn't think it would take much curiosity to pick up something about HTML along the way.

Stroppy Question 2. What kind of skills and attributes should a prospective journalist student have?

Well in addition to the traditional list...

  1. Touch typing (see SQ1 above)
  2. Blogging (if they don't already have a blog, how serious are they about journalism? And what does it say about their ability to just get on and do stuff)
  3. If they are doing 2, how much have they picked up about HTML and CSS along the way? If they're using Wordpress or Blogger they probably haven't needed to learn much to make it do what they want, but they will if they have any...
  4. ...Curiosity

1 comment:

Mark said...

I hadn't realised there was an answer other than "yes" to this question. Surely it's a bit like asking in the good old days whether or not student journalists should be given an introduction to ems and ens.
As to what they teach them in school, I have to admit I'm horrified by the rubbish IT in education. My partner and I did have a little chat with the teacher when we discovered our 13-year-old was being "taught" how to construct a website in Powerpoint! Apparently that's the programme the teacher felt most at home with...