KNOXVILLE, Tenn.– A national report recommending major changes in training for broadcast journalists was co-authored by a University of Tennessee professor.
Dr. Dhyana Ziegler, UT-Knoxville professor of broadcasting, said the Society of Professional Journalists’ study was done to help universities, the industry and students improve broadcast journalism.
Jane Pauley, NBC reporter and news anchor, provided funding for the study and served as honorary chairperson of the task force.
Among the report’s recommendations is the development of a model curriculum for college and university broadcasting departments.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity to examine the quality of our broadcast journalism academic programs,” Ziegler said. “It’s a healthy exercise to take a critical look at what we teach.”
Dr. John Peters, UT-Knoxville vice chancellor for academic affairs, said Ziegler’s selection to the panel and her work on the report is a “great honor” for Ziegler and the university. “We are pleased that Dr. Ziegler had the opportunity to provide input into a major national report which will lead to better-prepared broadcast journalists,” he said.
The nine-member Pauley task force also suggests raising the standards for admission to broadcast journalism programs, improving the quality of internships and increasing interaction between educators and broadcasting leaders.
Paul Davis, Ziegler’s co-author and past president of SPJ, said educators and broadcasters need to be more aware of changes in the industry.
“It all boils down to talking with each other, working with each other. Both have great power to influence the other, but not from the distances many seem to be keeping from the other these days.”
Pauley, co-anchor of NBC’s Dateline, said she has long been concerned about the quality of undergraduate mass communications programs and how to make them better.
“I think this was the best investment I ever made,” Pauley said. “The SPJ task force surpassed my expectations in the range of its inquiry and the breadth of its recommendations.”
Other task force members were William Small, former president of NBC News and Elie Abel, long-time TV journalist and former dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University.
Contact: Dr. Dhyana Ziegler (423-974-4291)