The New JMC

Creating Cultures of Innovation in Schools of Journalism, Media and Communication






Schools of journalism, media and communication (JMC) are scrambling to maintain relevance in a digital world changing at lightning speed while housed and operating in slow-moving institutions resistant to change. Dramatic shifts in communication education – e.g., changing demographics, shifting enrollments, financial pressures and increased demands for performance metrics – place additional stresses on JMC programs. Both technological disruptions and trends in higher ed require innovative thinking and groundbreaking new models of communication education.

The JMC Innovation Project found encouraging evidence that progress is underway in developing cultures of innovation that reflect new ideas and practices. At the same time, a lot of work remains if U.S. schools of journalism, media and communication are to meet the innovation challenges of the 21st century. The future of JMC education may well turn on how today’s JMC leaders respond to this pivotal moment.

Defining Innovation

JMC leaders view innovation as a strategic priority, yet define it differently.

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What's Working?

Here’s what innovation looks like at JMC schools and colleges.

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What's Not?

Reactive mindset and lack of strategic focus slow innovation in JMC programs.

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What's Next?

JMC deans and directors encourage collaborative approaches for driving innovation.

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How Innovative is Your School?


Innovation Audit

Christopher Callahan, Arizona State University

The most important element is trying to infuse innovation within and throughout the culture of the school.

Steve Coll, Columbia University

To go beyond relevance, you really have to lead and model excellence and innovation in the intersections of technology and journalism’s enduring public interest mission.

Maryanne Reed, West Virginia University

We are preparing students to be leaders and innovators. Not just practitioners.

Roger Lavery, Ball State University

If you are not innovating, you are becoming a dinosaur.

Ann Brill, University of Kansas

Innovation has to be a key, if not the key, of the world [students] are going into.

David Perlmutter, Texas Tech University

We have to pay attention to the world as it is, not the dream world of yesteryears.

Sarah Bartlett, City University of New York

It’s not as if innovation only happens in large cities . . . I think it can happen anywhere if you have the will, the passion and the interest.

Don Heider, Loyola University Chicago

Some of the best things are happening at small programs.

David Kurpius, University of Missouri

I see little pieces of innovation at lots of schools but they don’t scale.

Dan McDonald, Ohio State University

We need to focus on the jobs of tomorrow, not the jobs of today.

Lucy Dalglish, University of Maryland

It’s great to have whiz bang things like 360, but you need to know the basics about how to tell a video story.

Susan King, University of North Carolina

We must emphasize innovating for tomorrow for the industry and the profession to survive.

David Davies, University of Southern Mississippi

I worry that we are not innovative enough because we are just holding on for dear life.

Michael Wirth, University of Tennessee

Good writing is still good writing, but you have to be open to the fact that there are multiple platforms, new ways of thinking.