Super Doomed Planet » Journalism is Doomed

So the blog Super Doomed Planet (It’s better than doomed… it’s super doomed.) takes a scalpel to a whiny little op-ed piece in the University of Iowa daily newspaper written by a Journalism major :

I loved high school. I loved the memories I have of parties, football games, and hanging out with my friends. These are the things I have taken with me, not the useless information acquired in the classroom.

That’s the lede of an astonishing little op-ed piece called “On Schooling’s Useless Lessons,” by a vapid half-formed protojournalist attending the University of Iowa. Previous experience with op-ed pages might lead think this is the ironic setup to some moral fable about appreciating your education. You would be profoundly and entirely wrong. It gets worse.

A problem exists within the high-school education system: It doesn’t prepare students for their careers.

A world of insight into Idiot America is contained within that sentence. Idiot America doesn’t want education, it wants training. It dreams of rote skills allowing it to sleepwalk through a lucrative career with a minimum of thought. Education as preparation for life is a foreign concept.

When I decided in high school that my major was going to be journalism, I took the only class offered by my school in hopes of learning the journalistic writing style. I didn’t learn anything from that class. My teacher was not a journalism teacher; she was an English teacher. We spent every class silent reading instead of learning about the inverted pyramid.

You can learn a lot about good writing by reading, if you’re not too blinkered by single-minded career goals to pay attention. The kind of things good journalists learn long before they master the inverted pyramid. Things our columnist must not have learned, since she writes with the style and insight of a petulant junior high student.

The school system needs a reality check; most students aren’t going to be mathematicians, historians, or chemists. So why do we have to take these classes?

Because our knowledge of history grants us insight into the present. Because an understanding of science grants increased understanding of the physical world. Because we, as individuals and as a society, are faced with countless problems every day, political, technical, and moral; and knowledge of science and history helps us to make wiser and more informed decisions about those problems.
All of which means nothing to Idiot America. Idiot America doesn’t think. It prefers to act on instinct.

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5 Comments »

  1. Isa said

    Since I am a teacher, I will add my 2 cents to the coin jar: maybe super doomed planet needs to spend a day in my highschool and, if they survive the day, they will realize that there is a chunk of the student population who will not go to unviersity, let alone cegep.

    These kids will end up serving you coffee or pumping gas, but you know what…we need people like that. And maybe instead of having them wreck havoc in history class or math class, get them into a life skills program. Give the teacher and the rest of the class a break.

  2. Pacanukeha said

    Do you think that it is an appropriate complaint from a journalism major?

  3. Pacanukeha said

    Specifically, do you think that it is appropriate that a journalism major should not at least pass high-school english?

  4. Isa said

    To the first question: I think both articles are a tad annoying. First the Daily Iowan should get over the whole “highschool was a pain” thing… been there, done that, have the emotional scars to show for it. Secondly, SDP should let the DI rant about his frustrations for the reason metioned above: there are gaps in the system. Yes, I do sound a bit contradictory in my resoning, but bare with me, I’ve had a blargy day.

    As for the second question: well of course english is necessary, but believe me, take a look at some of the students in inner-city schools and they don’t need English, they need survival skills. Yes, if you plan on becoming a journalist, a teacher or whatever, you need english (or whatever subject is necessary for your career).

    There are problems however in the education system.

  5. Pacanukeha said

    Ah, but we aren’t talking about an inner city kid strugling to get by. We are talking about someone who aspires to be a member of the 5th estate – the most important job in a democracy, an industry that has for the last few years begun to abandon it’s vital role and pander to the lowest common denominator and avoid any semblance of informing the public.

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