My open letter to journalism funders: Change your plan of attack

By Katy Culver, assistant professor
After a group of six prominent foundations that fund journalism innovation published an open letter to university presidents this month, many people asked for my reaction and a surprising number of them characterized it as a “shot across the bow” of academia.

The funders’ semantic gunfire is apparently a warning shot to those of us in university journalism programs that we had better wake up and innovate or face loss of funding.

My reaction to the “shot across the bow”? It looks a whole lot to me like the bureaucratic torpedoes we’ve been firing at our own hulls for years. Once again, we’re mired in intractable structural discussions – like some grand naval exercise – rather than squarely focusing on nimble efforts to achieve small wins and eventual victory in moving education and journalism forward.

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