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Stop Training Journalists? Uh, Oh…

Paul Conley is telling trade journalism honchos to, “No More Training” — a plea to employers to stop offering training in Web journalism to their employees. Huh?

There’s reason for this apparent madness, though I don’t entirely agree with it. Conley says:

First, “You cannot train someone to be part of a culture.” He means the Web culture.

Second, he says, “When the fighting begins, the training must end.” Here he means that it’s too late to start getting journalists web-savvy.

On the second point I could not disagree more. Soldiers train in between battles, to stay sharp and learn new tactics.

The first has more logical appeal, but even here I can’t go along. Some people don’t realize they’re naturally part of a culture until they see it close-up. I didn’t know I was going to gravitate online until I’d tried it.

A provocative piece, worth reading…

4 Comments on “Stop Training Journalists? Uh, Oh…”

  1. #1 Notes from a Teacher: Mark on Media » Thursday squibs
    on Jan 10th, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    [...] Stop Training Journalists? Uh, Oh… Yesterday, I pointed to Paul Conley’s provocative post: today Dan Gillmor writes that Paul’s post should be read, but that he doesn’t agree. Related: Paul has followed up yesterday’s post with part two of his Fighting Hole Tactics series. [...]

  2. #2 Tino
    on Jan 12th, 2008 at 1:46 am

    If journalism was warfare, Paul Conley would probably be right. Stop learning new fighting techniques, dig a hole and hope the war will be over before you get killed (or starve). Despite the parallels, I’m glad they’re not the same.

    I agree with your observation – some people need to be introduced to the Web (and Web journalism in particular) to become enthused. A great deal of the old dinosaurs might not become Web reporters overnight, and some will always struggle with the most basic concepts of internet research and writing.

    But if we can win one new enthusiastic online journalist out of a group of twenty old-school pros, training has already paid off. Journalism will suffer enormously if we apply Conley’s suggestions as we’d lose many of the most experienced journalists to a potential windfall in reporting quality.

    I am a firm believer in formal media training, but we’d be doomed by restricting all teaching to the Young and leave the rest to DIY autodidactic learning.

    This might be different in B2B publishing that Paul refers to, but from my experience in ‘standard journalism’ it is much easier to turn a senior print journalist into a Web journalist then to start with a rather young journalist and turn her into an experienced online reporter.

    I’m curious to hear what the guys at Poynter have to say about this.

  3. #3 links for 2008-01-15 : Blogging The News
    on Jan 14th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    [...] Center for Citizen Media: Stop Training Journalists? Uh, Oh… (tags: journalisme) [...]

  4. #4 Stop Training Journalists? : Institute for the Networked Future (INF)
    on Jan 22nd, 2008 at 7:14 am

    [...] Gillmor criticizes Paul Conley’s article “No More Training” — a plea to employers to stop offering training in [...]