Shop Talk – October 30
10:42 am
Tue October 30, 2012

Turning Experts into Journalists

The panelists discuss an experiment at the University of Toronto to turn experts into journalists rather than journalists into experts.

The story is reported on the Nieman Journalism Lab website and written by Robert Steiner, Director of the Fellowships in Global Journalism at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. He wrote the Fellowship “…deliberately recruits subject-matter experts — academics and professionals — and teaches them to break news in their own disciplines for media around the world.”

The panelists are intrigued by the Fellowship program.  Panelist Lisa Kernek said there is a great deal of change in the news reporting business so journalism schools are looking for new ways of doing things. She said the training should benefit someone hoping to specialize while working in a larger market but she feels most journalists need a general background.

Panelist Rich Egger agreed the program would be good for some people but is not for everyone. He said there has been an emphasis in the industry on “hyper-local” reporting – especially in smaller markets -- and he feels such journalists need to know how to report on a wide variety of topics and issues.

Panelist Mike Murray said the program calls into question the skills needed to be a journalist.