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Robert Hernandez: Reboot journalism school? Take control of your education instead

USC’s Hernandez says students should bypass the normal route and “hijack your school’s assets to selfishly improve your skills.”

Editor’s Note: It’s the start of the school year, which means students are returning to journalism programs around the country. As the media industry continues to evolve, how well is new talent being trained, and how well are schools preparing them for the real world?

We asked an array of people — hiring editors, recent graduates, professors, technologists, deans — to evaluate the job j-schools are doing and to offer ideas for how they might improve. Here’s Robert Hernandez, journalism professor at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, with ideas on how students can make the resources of the j-school, and the web, better work for them.

“J-schools aren’t changing fast enough.”

“J-schools need new blood in academia.”

“J-schools need to be more like teaching hospitals.”

All these are true, but… there are some people who don’t wait. Students, if you are waiting for the curriculum to be the cutting edge journalism that will guarantee you a high paying job, you are wasting your time.

Yes, I said that. Because if you think a school’s curriculum or teaching structure determines your education, you are mistaken. That era is over. The era of textbooks being the authority is over. The era of professors having all the answers is over.

The reality of our current era is disruption. And it’s extremely exciting.

That means you can bypass the j-school debates and take control over your education by taking the most important step: Be actively involved in your education. This is even more important that deciding what school you’ll attend. Don’t wait for academia to determine what you need to know for modern journalism. Be proactive and find out by using digital media to help you learn those skills.

Think DIY. Think horizontal loyalty. Think of ways to hijack your school’s assets to selfishly improve your skills.

This means more than just attending the required classes. This means more work than is assigned. This means more than a letter grade or GPA. This means meeting and engaging with more than your classmates and professors at your school.

This means using the power of the web and social media to augment your education and introduce yourself to more than just the curriculum outlined by your individual school.

This means realizing that an older professor you have written off as “irrelevant” has so much more to teach you about life and journalism than you think.

This means working weekends on projects you are passionate about with friends who share that passion.

As you’ve heard time and time again, the journalism game has changed. So has the education game. And the biggest change is that you have the power to shape your own destiny — far more than just deciding which school you’ll attend. (Also, go to USC Annenberg.)

When I taught my first Intro to Online class, I introduced my students to the term “Google it.” At first, they thought I didn’t know the answers and I was using the search engine to cover up my shortcomings. (For the record, I don’t have all the answers. And, yes, I do use the search engine to find some…usually many different answers to the same question.) But those who have truly embraced the web know what that simple phrase really means: Empower yourself.

It’s the modern version of teaching someone how to fish. But why wait for someone to teach you how to fish when you can teach yourself? Since you are in an incredible learning environment, you can use the expertise and context from your j-school to make sure you are fishing correctly (and ethically). Make the effort — and it is extremely easy today — to find a diverse set of answers to your current question.

OBLIGATORY NOTE: When exploring the web, be a smart information consumer and consider the source. There is bad info out there. There is occasionally an echo chamber. But there is gold for you to mine. Be a journalist and treat “Googling” as reporting. I know I’m stating the obvious, but there are always people who need a reminder.

Teach yourself something new, like I taught myself CSS many years ago, and am now teaching myself JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and more today. (Here’s just a list of resources to start with: Codecademy, Learn Python The Hard Way, and The Bastards Book of Ruby.)

Go crash/audit a class. And make sure some of them aren’t about journalism.

Look, you can sit back with your arms folded expecting someone to teach you something, or you can do more. Go out and hunt for knowledge. And, while I said be selfish to find it, don’t be selfish in sharing it. Engage and educate your classmates, as well as your professors. But remember one more thing: You don’t have all the answers either.

Photo by Jeroen Bennink used under a Creative Commons license.

                                   
What to read next
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Joseph Lichterman    April 22, 2014
Four-year-old startup Benzinga is growing thanks to a free consumer site, a paid news wire, and online financial service marketplace.
  • http://www.lascheratlarge.com Bill Lascher

    This is a grear and well articulated sentiment. Here’s my concern: I suspect few journalism students, particularly the ones not taking control of their own educations, are reading Nieman or other industry diacussion. You are correct that current institutions are not keeping up with the dynamism of the industry, but the valie higher education offers (and I think this is one very strong argument for undergraduate liberal arts education) is exposing students to the necessity of thinking independently. So it is still crucial that j-schools nudge students to get outside their comfort zone and to find students who are in journalism school because they love journalism. Therefore it os also crucial for schools to nurture and accept such attitudes (I’m glad you are doing so at my graduate alma mater). Really that’s what education is for in ANY field.

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    I agree completely. Also, while Nieman may not reach everyone, we all can help by Facebooking, Tweeting, sharing, emailing, preaching these ideas. 

    Thanks for your words… and I hope I am helping your alma mater to Fight On. (See what I did there.)

  • StanleyKrauter

    This article was another meaningless cheerleading essay for journalism students.
    —-
    Consider the foster care programs in every state.  There is a small but significant number of children killed every year by the adults who were hired to protect.  When this happens in a perverted manner, or to a photogenic child, the death can not be ignored and there is a very public investigation by politicians and reporters.   And they usually find that there were too many children per social worker and/or too much turnover in social workers and foster care parents to ensure quality care.  After some reforms are implemented, both politicians and reporters swear that it will never happen again.  
    ——
    But it always happens again because children are one of the weakest special interest groups in every society.  Politicians are controlled by incentives that they can not change.  They must satisfy the strongest special interest groups with subsidies and tax cuts.  So the foster care reforms are eventually undone as money is slowly taken away from the children and given to greedy adults.  As for non-politicians, one man, one vote is a wonderful principle and a lousy incentive for becoming an informed voter.  In my informal surveys of friends and strangers in various drinking establishments I have never known anyone who knew anything about their state’s foster care program before a scandal happened.   Which will always be true because the news media doesn’t want to communicate like a teacher instead of a reporter.
    ——
    A teacher would provide the public with an annual one week review of events and contitions on our government of the people, etc, etc.  The one week could provide enough time and space for publishing statistics for every major department on our leviathan.  This information would then work like the report cards that teachers use for rewarding and punishing their students.  So busy voters could read the metrics for how many children per social worker and the tunrover rate.  Then they could use the facts to reward or punish their elected officials.  But this doesn’t happen now because the information is forgotten as white noise in a news media environment of terrorism and sex scandals.  Politicians would also use the information because they won’t be able to use the excuse that they didn’t know things were so bad.  (See Governor Jeb Bush and Rilya Wilson)  All too often politicians claim they don’t know how bad things are because this give them a good excuse when a scandal happens.
    —–
    But editors and reporters don’t want to communicante like a teacher.  Even though it would be easy to do.  I think they don’t want to do it because (a) a photogenic child is more profitable for the news media when the child is dead and (b) a dead child is more exciting because a reporter can win a journalism award from a group like the Nieman Foundation for discovering incompetent politicians.  And the Nieman Foundation doesn’t care about dead foster care children because of their social darwinism.
    —–
    Maybe it’s time to create a new journalism award.
    ——
    ——
    Stanley Krauter
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    ——-
    ——-
    P.S. I predict that no one will reply to my complaint because journalists and their sycophants are elitists who refuse to interact with low class people like me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.threlkeld Justin Threlkeld

    Take heart! I am a j-school (if advertising focused) student and I read it. Students sometimes read things you’d never expect, and some of us even encourage a few friends to do the same.

  • Emily

    Hi Stanley.

    I own a small news company in Birmingham, Alabama, and we do try to report on stories that have civic value like the ones you noted.  We are, however, under budget constraints because we are a small company that didn’t take on outside funding of any kind except advertising sales.  We’d love to have an investigative reporter who could consistently cover social issues for us and act as a community watchdog. 

    I think there are a whole bunch of people out there though, like the folks at a site called Charlottesville Tomorrow (focus on local government transparency in WV) and the Investigative News Network of reporters, that truly do care about their communities and understand that really good journalism does indeed go deeper and it also takes a bit longer.  Most of those projects are happening on series or with organizations that are funded by foundations though. 

    The industry is really in a state of intermediate change now and that all rotates around ‘who pays the bills.’  Some have figured it out, others haven’t.  For content budgets (what’s getting published), that has meant less focus on investigative pieces and more focus on volume of content. 

    The awards do need to be revamped to include new categories and also to include hyperlocal news sites. 

    As an Owner/Publisher though, I can tell you that this article really does hit home in a MAJOR WAY and provides a lot of truth around the current state of hiring in news.  It truly has turned into a role where you must be a lifelong learner that is curious and seeks out your own information.  The day of a journalism program that teaches you all you most of what you need to know to work as a Journalist in 2012 is gone, gone, gone. 

    Emily

  • Blanca Torres

    Well-said, Robert! I never studied journalism in college or grad school and somehow manage to work in the field. I was lucky enough to land a part-time job at my local newspaper while I was in high school and wrote for a variety of student newspapers. My journalism “education” happened in newsrooms, at conferences, and from talking to people in the field. I left studying Shakespeare and the history of Latin America for the classroom. You’re right to encourage students to take classes in other subjects. The fact is, you can always practice the craft of journalism away from an academic setting, but you can’t always indulge in an academic course taught by a qualified instructor (hopefully).
    Also, I’m sure you remind your students that if they end up working as journalists, they will probably have to continuously teach themselves new skills or seek out learning opportunities on their own. That’s the real world.

  • http://twitter.com/KelleeMagee Kellee O’Reilly

    This sentiment isn’t just true for students (journalism or otherwise), but for all of us continually-learning adults out here in the rapidly-shifting world, also. The message is clear:  stop waiting for a ‘system’ to be built to teach you what you need to learn. Figure out what new skills, tools, niches you need to learn or be aware of, and go learn it, a-la-carte. There is no engraved, hand-delivered invitation to life learning – just do it.  

  • StanleyKrauter

    Everyone in the news media is missing an opportunity to communicate better by publishing an annual one week review of events and conditions in our country.  Large daily newspapers could publish a seven day series of reports.  Small weekly newspapers would only have one day for writing about their local government and community.,  Both could use a divide and conquer strategy to make their investigative journalism more effective.   That means the largest newspaper in a state will investigate their senior Senator to Washington, D. C. and his most important committee assignment.  Then the second largest state newspaper will investigate their junior Senator and his most important committee assignment.  And the largest newspaper in every Congressional district that is not assigned to a Senator will investigate their Congressman and his most important committee assignment.  The remaining newspapers will investiatge thier local state Senator and his most important committee assignment. With this system, there will always be a team of newpapers that is investigating the same section of the government.  Their efforts can reinforce one another.  The mortgage crisis and Great Recession might have been avoided if there had been more coordination by the reporters who were ahead of the curve on the crisis.  And these one day reports will stimulate groups of news junkies to become expert voters in the topic that their local newpaper  is investigtating.  (As a news junkie, I know that my fellow fanatics will be eager to become an organized force in our democracy)  A local newspaper will only have to do a very small of amount of investiative journalism to stimulate its local news junkies to do their own research via the inernet and forums like Neiman’s.  As super spectators of politics, we can become the canaries in the coal mine when are politicians are selling out.  We will be the ones who really care about the number of children per social worker. We just need to news media to provide the right kind of stimulation.  And every newspaper could get an extra source of profits by republishing their annaul review as a print on demand paperback book or booklet.  The largest newspapers could increase their sales by including fifty to one hundred book reviews for the prior years most important books.  These are already written for other publications and be pasted into the newspapers publishcation for a minimal cost.  The smaller newspapers could make thier booklets more popular by publishing the prices for all of the years prior real estate sales.  This is used for levying property taxes and will be very valaualbe information ofr the the public.  And I am sure that the government can be persuaded or coerced into providing the information for free in a format that will make it easy to republish in the local newspapers booklet. 
    —–
    P.S.  I have more ideas on how proposal can be successful.,  I also have an idea for making advertising in newspapers more effective.  Because I have been trying to twenty years to get newspapers to listen to my proposal, I will be very happy to respond to any questions you may have. 

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    Proof of awesomeness!

  • Sadams9

    Some journalist do it to spread awareness. Awareness – knowledge – solution. We do the hard stuff nobody wants to do so we can spread a message we deem important. Journalist are not the mass media, they are just a small part with not a lot of funds to spread the message we want. You sound like a journalist so I do not understand why you are putting them (us) down. We want to help. We want to tell the real story.

  • StanleyKrauter

    But it would be very easy for journalists to do a better job.  However, no one in the news media wants to communicate like a teacher would.   No one cares that children are dying because the news media is not doing its job correctly.  No one cares that the pre-crisis investigative journalism on the mortgage crisis was ignored by voters and politicians because the news media didn’t do its job correctly.  No one cares that our political system is being corrupted by money because the news media is not doing its job correctly.  And this includes the elitists who work for the Neiman Foundation.  They must not believe in responding to any emails unless a large donation is sent to their “noble cause.”

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    Agreed!

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    You are proof that J-School isn’t required for everyone… I’m so proud of you and your career, especially with the latest move of joining the NAHJ board. Keep up the good work!

  • http://twitter.com/Buffyandrews Buffy Andrews

    +1 Totally love this!

     ”It’s the modern version of teaching someone how to fish. But why wait for someone to teach you how to fish when you can teach yourself?”  
    This applies to professional journalists as well. They should learn to fish in this brave new world using all of the tools available and not wait for someone at their paper to teach them how.

    Lead the way. Take charge!   

  • TG

    I’ll assign my students this article. The modern curriculum has so many requirements that students feel they have no room to explore. This article offers great advice. Yet most of the students working on our college newspaper are not journalism students. They’re studying science and math and nursing. I doubt they will seek careers in journalism, but my hope is that they’ll help create the new world of media, one that is growing increasingly participatory. 

    As a journalism instructor, I often worry that the skills I gained over the years are largely irrelevant. However, the foundational elements of journalism remain important, even for tweets and YouTube producers. We are invested in the process of seeking truth and verifying it. We love telling other people’s stories, and we understand the responsibility of passing along those stories fairly and accurately. We are not invested in advocacy or assertion, but recognize that our role in spreading information is critical to a free society.

    Thanks for this reminder of our role as journalism teachers, however. Sometimes we need to just get of the way, and push students to find their own path.

  • Former_scribe

    You’re making the case for what we used to call “advocacy” journalism, in which the journalist chooses a target problem and whacks society over the head with the need to modify it. Social activists are always needed, but they shouldn’t often be journalists. I’m in a dwindling minority with this opinion, but I think a higher form of the news craft is served when the writer acts as a bystanding observer and commenter. To this way of thinking, it’s crossing a line to participate in a news story as a driving force for social change. (We all can never agree on what constitutes desirable social change, after all.)  And I disagree with your last long paragraph about sensationalism being more appealing to the media. I never knew many ghouls in the working press who hoped for disaster so they could earn reporting awards.

  • Dan Cooper

    What a load of total crap and a recipe for disaster. Journalism is a discipline. It’s learned from serious journalists with impeccable credentials and traditional non-new media backgrounds, meaning old people. It was taught to me by old people. Like you, I knew the new technologies of my time. You have the ability to adapt the new technologies yourself. But if you don’t learn the basics of writing, covering stories, investigations, economics, world history, psychology and sociology, IN AN OBJECTIVE MANNER, you will amount to nothing unless you want to settle for being a Ken or Barbie doll reading what somebody else wrote, in which case I advise going to acting school for camera training. Have you boobs enhanced, women, and men, get more hair even if you have a ton, because you’ll always want more. Start having your cosmetic surgery early and often because that’s the way to extend your career as a highly paid puppet. But watch out, the holographic anchor is only 5 or 10 years away. 

  • http://twitter.com/dancow Dan Nguyen

    OK, I’ll reply. You state:

    “But editors and reporters don’t want to communicante like a teacher.  Even though it would be easy to do. ”

    Could you elaborate on this? What would you like to see? What is your assumption on how this information would be gathered? My observation is that this is not a *bad* idea but is not easy “to do” in practice, given the situation with government statistics and related information.

  • http://twitter.com/dancow Dan Nguyen

    OK, I’ll reply. You state:

    “But editors and reporters don’t want to communicante like a teacher.  Even though it would be easy to do. ”

    Could you elaborate on this? What would you like to see? What is your assumption on how this information would be gathered? My observation is that this is not a *bad* idea but is not easy “to do” in practice, given the situation with government statistics and related information.

  • StanleyKrauter

    First, I am definitely not promoting “advocacy journalism.”  I was attacking the effectiveness of how journalists communicate when I wrote about the foster care children.  And this is just one issue where journalists are failing to communicate even though they are trying very hard to provide voters with information.  For example, voters and politicians ignored the pre-crisis investigative journalism on the housing bubble and subsequent Great Recession because the reporters’ discoveries were forgotten after being changed into white noise by everything else that was happening.  Those reporters worked hard but failed to change anything with their investigations.  Did they want to fail?  Surveys by the news media have repeatedly shown the most voters are too ignorant to vote intelligently.  And in my own informal surveys with friends and strangers in various drinking establishments I have never found a single voter who knew anything about our state’s foster care program before a scandal happened.  Again, this is a failure by the news media.  Unless you expect voters to start doing their own research because the news media is too busying investigating Anthony Weiner’s underwear, more children are going to die because the news media is not interested in communicating better.
    ——
    Second, my ghoulish opinions about reporters is based upon twenty years of trying to persuade them that they could become much more effective if they would just publish an annual one week review of events and conditions.  The one week of recycled information is all they have to do to become more effective at what THEY ARE ALREADY DOING.  So why won’t they do it.  Why won’t Robert Hernandez write a reply to my criticism.  He has written several replies to people who have said nice things about his editorial.  But he has ignored my criticism.  And the Neiman Foundation has never replied to one of my letters or emails in the past twenty years.  Why won’t they respond to my ideas on how they could solve some the problems that they are always complaing about.  You know, the news media obsession with horse race journalism and sex scandals and etc etc.   The Neiman Foundation has published many essays about those flaws but is not interested in the only solution.  My ghoulish theory is the only explanation I have for why no one wants to become more effective. 
    —– 
    Third, please read my reply to Emily for an explanation of how newspapers could maximize the impact of their investigative journalism with just one day of reporting every year. 

  • StanleyKrauter

    First, I am definitely not promoting “advocacy journalism.”  I was attacking the effectiveness of how journalists communicate when I wrote about the foster care children.  And this is just one issue where journalists are failing to communicate even though they are trying very hard to provide voters with information.  For example, voters and politicians ignored the pre-crisis investigative journalism on the housing bubble and subsequent Great Recession because the reporters’ discoveries were forgotten after being changed into white noise by everything else that was happening.  Those reporters worked hard but failed to change anything with their investigations.  Did they want to fail?  Surveys by the news media have repeatedly shown the most voters are too ignorant to vote intelligently.  And in my own informal surveys with friends and strangers in various drinking establishments I have never found a single voter who knew anything about our state’s foster care program before a scandal happened.  Again, this is a failure by the news media.  Unless you expect voters to start doing their own research because the news media is too busying investigating Anthony Weiner’s underwear, more children are going to die because the news media is not interested in communicating better.
    ——
    Second, my ghoulish opinions about reporters is based upon twenty years of trying to persuade them that they could become much more effective if they would just publish an annual one week review of events and conditions.  The one week of recycled information is all they have to do to become more effective at what THEY ARE ALREADY DOING.  So why won’t they do it.  Why won’t Robert Hernandez write a reply to my criticism.  He has written several replies to people who have said nice things about his editorial.  But he has ignored my criticism.  And the Neiman Foundation has never replied to one of my letters or emails in the past twenty years.  Why won’t they respond to my ideas on how they could solve some the problems that they are always complaing about.  You know, the news media obsession with horse race journalism and sex scandals and etc etc.   The Neiman Foundation has published many essays about those flaws but is not interested in the only solution.  My ghoulish theory is the only explanation I have for why no one wants to become more effective. 
    —– 
    Third, please read my reply to Emily for an explanation of how newspapers could maximize the impact of their investigative journalism with just one day of reporting every year. 

  • StanleyKrauter

    I am proposing that the news media publish an annual one week review of events and conditions in our country.  Reporters will have almost an entire year to write the review.   So that should make it easy to do.  And the government is supplying most of the statistical information so that should also make it easy to do.  Even though this will be a very limited amount of information, it will work like the report cards that teachers use for rewarding and punishing their students.  That is not happening now because a shocking news story in January is usually forgotten in a November election.  Just look at our crumbling infrastructure.  There have been many stories about bridges failing down, etc etc and there are no policy disagreements about repairing our bridges and highways.  It has to be done and it is cheaper to do it when it is needed instead of later.  But that isn’t happening because polititicians are ignoring the problem because voters are ignoring the problem.  With an annual report card however, voters might do a better job.  I don’t expect a perfect job from voters because I don’t have that much respect for them.   But if my next proposal is enacted, it should make them use the report cards for rewarding and punishing politicans like parents do with their children.
    ——-
    To make the one week reviews really effective, every government employee must be given a paid vacation day on the Monday closest in the calendar to our average rate of taxation.  (Google Tax Freedom Day)  This fringe benefit for our public servants will make nearly every taxpayer madder than an unregulated firecracker.  But it will also make it profitable for the news media to publish an annual one week review during the week of a Taxpayer’s Holiday.  Extra profits could gained by republishing the reviews as a print on demand paperback book or booklet.  And the demand curve for these photographic memories could be increased by including book reviews of the prior year’s fifty to one hundred more important books.  Or editorials by  the newspaper’s fifty to one hundred best advertising clients.  But the holiday’s biggest influence will come from how it will stimulate voters to become more active as citizens.  The holiday and the annual one week review will become their moment to become serious students of politics.  That is not happening now because one man, one vote is a wonderful principle and a lousy incentive for becoming a serious student of politics.  A Taxpayer’s Holiday will stimulate people to care more and work harder at their job of voting.
    ——
    In 2011, the average taxpayer paid 28,2% of his income in federal, state, and local taxes.  So a Taxpayer’s Holiday could have been scheduled on April 16, 2012 because that Monday was the 107th day of the leap year’s 366 days.  Every holiday will be scheduled twenty years in advance so people will have enough time for planning ahead.  Any changes in our taxes our economy would be handled by using a twenty year moving average for calculating our averge tax rate.  Therefore the tax rates from 1992 to 2012 would be used for scheduling the holidays in 2013 to 2032.  The average tax rate for 1993 to 2013 would be used for 2033.  And the tax rates for 1994 to 2014 would be used for 2034.  But if anyone is worried about the cost of another paid vacation day for government employees, their concerns could be resolved by rescheduling President’s Day as a Taxpayer;s Holiday.,  With only one holiday for promoting patriotism and lower taxes, some taxpayers will celebrate twice as hard and stimulate the economy.  And I think that George Washington would approve of No Taxation Without Justification.

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    I completely agree! The other thing to remember is that you are not alone. We’re all here to help… that’s part of Horizontal Loyalty.

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    Let me know how they react.

  • http://twitter.com/webjournalist Robert Hernandez

    Dan, thanks for taking the time to comment.

  • Kim Nowacki

    Hi Robert,

    On Sunday you asked me what part USC Annenberg had played in my career shift. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to answer much other than, “It helped shake up my life,” before my ride to the airport came. 
    I wanted to give you a fuller answer and as it turns out, it parallels a lot of what you say in this post. Here it is:
    http://www.gossipandvice.com/2012/09/how-i-hijacked-journalism-school/

    — Kim Nowacki

  • Eric Meyer

    If you think there’s a shortage of report cards on how well various institutions are preforming, you’ve been opening e-mail in a newsroom recently. Barely a day goes by within some group, pushing some cause, producing a report card on something. The reason they don’t get published is that most are transparently biased attempts to advocate for a particular goal.

  • Eric Meyer

    Sorry…punched POST too soon:If you think there’s a shortage of report cards on how well various institutions and politicians are preforming, you’ve not been opening much newsroom e-mail recently. Barely a day goes by without some group, pushing some cause, producing a report card on something. The reason they don’t get published is that most are transparently biased attempts to advocate for a particular goal.

  • StanleyKrauter

    I think you should have read my essay more carefully before you responded.  (1) Foster care children are being killed by the adults who were hired to protect them. (2) When it happens in a perverted manner, or to a photogenic child, there is an investigation by politicians and reporters.  (3)  The investigations usually discover that there were too many children per social worker and/or too much turnover in social workers and foster care parents.   (4) In my informal surveys I have never met anyone who knew anything about their state’s foster care program before a scandal happened.  (5)  This ignorance will make it impossible for voters to prevent these inevitable tragedies by forcing their politicians to provide more resources for foster care children.  (6)  Publishing the information in an annual review would make it possible for voters to do a better job. (7)   THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN PER SOCIAL WORKER AND TURNOVER RATE ARE STATISTICS THAT EVERY STATE COLLECTS FOR ITS INTERNAL MONITORING OF PERFORMANCE. It would be easy and profitable for the news media to publish this information.  It would save lives.  It wouldn’t be coming from an advocacy group or a special interest that has a bias or a greedy incentive to promote a cause. But the news media doesn’t give a damn about foster care children until there is a dead child.  (8) Politicians can not prevent these tragedies because they are controlled by incentives that they can not change.  But that is probably to complicated for you to understand.
    —-
    You and your colleagues in the journalism profession are just too selfish to change your professional standards.

  • Guest

    What is stopping you from doing what you’re advocating?

  • StanleyKrauter

    I am not a reporter.  I am a nobody.  I don’t have any business or political power for making people listen to my advice.  I have been writing letters to the news media for more than twenty years and have never received an explanation from anyone for why they don’t want to communicate better.  I even paid for a full page ad in my local newspaper trying to get someone to respond to my advice.  Nothing happened.  So now I am writing “hate mail” in an effort to get a response from someone.  The responses from you and the others on this webpage have been the most feedback I have ever received.  Maybe I should started writing hate mail twenty years ago.