LJWorld.com weblogs Lauren Keith
I am an ageist.
I keep a running mental list of the strange, time-consuming ways that my professors access Google. While everyone else in class is happily chatting and ignoring him, I watch my confused professor go to the Start menu … find Firefox … open Firefox. Loading, please wait.
My blood starts to boil as he announces to the class that he is going to do a Google search, which sounds like a thinly veiled cry for help. After blankly staring at the computer screen for a few more minutes, he finally finds that elusive Google buried in his list of bookmarks, and 15 minutes later, class can finally begin. I shudder to think how many times this scenario repeats itself on the KU campus, across the country or even in my own life.
Unfortunately, this has turned me into a discriminator. I am an ageist.
Ageism is usually the negative stereotyping against people based solely on their age. Wikipedia frighteningly categorizes it with other elements of discrimination, such as race wars, genocide and slavery, which is light-years away from me (a 21 year old) fearing the technological abilities of pentagenarians.
But ageism has very real repercussions, especially in journalism school. I think I’m on the cusp of some generation, a group of soon-to-be graduates who are expected to know how to use Photoshop, HTML and Twitter but many of whom slip through the cracks because they can’t write well or punctuate.
As KU’s School of Journalism is looking to change its curriculum to buddy up with the onslaught of social media, I have to wonder who will be learning from this help session, the students or the professors?
Journalism shouldn’t ignore technology, but if we stray too far from our core of teaching good writing, we could fail an entire generation of students.
Facebook, Twitter or Google Maps won't stop newspapers from dying. But good writing might.
— Lauren Keith