The Best and Worst Thing I’ve Seen in a While: Cubby Journalist Taking on the “Dinosaur”

Gawker found yet another hilarious but telling case of tactless online communication. This one particularly stood out to me because it dealt with an issue relevant to my life on a daily basis–the dinosaur versus the cubby.

First of all, it was rude for this student to essentially call this person a “Dinosaur” by saying his or her job is no longer relevant in today’s journalism world. I’ll skip a rant about this person’s inability to communicate effectively to a potential interview subject and write grammatically correct. But in journalism, if you want anyone to talk to you, the first thing they teach you (and what you should already know by being human) is not to insult them.

Two main things come this post, however, about the merging of the traditional journalism sphere and the introduction of new media and tech-focused journalism jobs. It’s apparent that the “Dinosaur” is probably already extinct or on his/her way out and doesn’t want to be reminded of it, especially by a wide-eyed student who could be taking his/her job upon graduation. The second thing I think of with this post is how unprofessional, unprepared and nieve this cubby is as a SENIOR in journalism school. Both are dangerous to journalism in their own way.

The best part about this was the onslaught of comments that came from the article. Most insulted the kid’s writing skills, but others pointed out the relevancy of a journalism degree that has seniors bug old-timers in journalism as their final projects.

“When I think about how much this student is paying for his worthless journalism degree vs. what the veteran “dinosaur” journalist paid for his journalism degree, which did have worth for many years, I’d say the student is on the losing end of this one.”

Ouch, buddy. We could theorize about the value of a journalism degree these days, but I’ve already got the degree, so I’d rather not get depressed over it.

I did learn valuable tools about new media journalism as part of my degree, but I will admit that because these new skills (video, web design, social media, graphics, interactive, etc) take up so much time and mental energy, the fundamentals can go unnoticed (luckily, my rigorous writing courses and print-intensive undergrad background helped me out). But I still have a lot to learn from both worlds. Right now I’m lucky enough to work with professionals who are reaching their 70s with decades of valuable experience while also working with the innovators of tomorrow’s media landscape.

“How about the person who is “teaching” journalism? You won’t find a bigger dinosaur than that”

This comment also stood out to me because it makes you think about which institution and which professors are teaching you the skills you need to know for this “new” journalism. Sure, some schools might have a history of excellence, but are they in touch with what you need to learn to get a job these days or do they glorify the Woodward/Bernsteins of the past? Are the professors making sure the print kids learn video and the video kids learn web skills? I hope so.

I fall into the wide-eyed cubby category, but I feel like I’m a bit of a mix between the “Dinosaur” and the Twitter, Huffington Post-obsessed cubby. The tools need to be understood and used, but that drive for good writing, research and PEOPLE SKILLS is essential to making these tools significant to society. Otherwise it’s a bunch of wasted messages and pointless graphics.