Newspapers have been closing down all over the country. The investigative reporting depicted in the movie Spotlight has unfortunately become a luxury many communities are now forced to do without. In a recent article in Forbes, Frederick Singer develops an interesting argument that higher education can learn from the experience of the newspaper industry and its quest to deal with the rise of the internet.
In the nineties, editors and journalist were terrified of unstructured dialogue with their readers. They wanted both the content and the discussions curated. As a result, newspapers were slow to develop communities online. New market entrants, meanwhile, thrived by cultivating a two-way relationship with readers. From AOL chat rooms to instant messaging, Twitter, and Facebook, new media is typified by greater consumer choice and the ability to engage in real time.
In the education world, we know that student engagement can have a massive impact on outcomes. Active, flipped or blended classrooms activate millennial learners who crave control over how they engage with material. Students are looking beyond the bookstore or library to Youtube or Amazon for online materials and study aids. Passive consumption of classes and content doesn’t square with the experience of screenagers who came of age in the Internet era.
What Higher Education Can Learn From The Fall Of The Newspapers, Frederick Singer, Forbes, March 28, 2016.