When I began my current job in the journalism school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, my director told me I had a particularly daunting mission: “train students for jobs that may not yet exist.”
I’ve tried to keep her voice in my head over the years and keep my courses on pace accordingly. But as the business models of journalism have grown ever more strained, I realized I wasn’t doing enough to give my students assignments and inspiration to stoke their entrepreneurial fire, to drive them to envision the apps, sites, platforms and functions we’ll all use 10 years from now.
After all, if journalism is to thrive, this generation of students will have to create things that do not yet exist.
At other schools, entire courses and programs are dedicated to entrepreneurship in media and business plan creation. We don’t have that luxury. Also, I’m a believer in spreading valuable lessons throughout as many courses as possible.
In advance of adding new entrepreneurial elements to my introductory and magazine courses this fall, I test-drove some ideas with students taking internship credit this summer. The students enroll for credit while working at internships across the country. Faculty generate different assignments for the students who enroll with them, often involving readings and research papers related to the experience.… Read more