On a recent casual visit to a university that offers Mass Communication somewhere in Nigeria, we could not but leave the institution with a mixed feeling. The feelings were a bit of concern about how well the students are being prepared for the real world of work and how the gap between the “town and gown’ seems to be so wide.

While it is easy to say there is an enhanced profile in journalism curriculum as against what used to be, the challenges, the attitude of learners and dispositions of the teachers left much to be desired. In Many public journalism schools/departments, the numbers of students, teacher to student’s ratio, unstructured and overwhelming work hours had led to a drop in the values the teachers could add.

On the other hand, the sad reality is that the world of journalism and communication has gone through some major changes, and the traditional news writing and reporting methods, compared to what the students are learning may not sufficiently transport many mass communications graduate to a plateau that can guarantee landing in any fruitful voyage

Today, journalism is not just about sticking to the old rules of reporting and writing. It’s much more dynamic and multifaceted. Media and journalism training have moved beyond the traditional boundaries, encompassing a whole new set of skills and practices.

We now live in a digital age where we are dealing with multimedia journalism, artificial intelligence, content creation, digital communication, and many other contemporary approaches. While these skills are being taught (gloss over may be the right words) in some schools, the emphasis for some has been on theory while the practical aspect which has become absolutely essential which can make a professional stay relevant in the ever-evolving job market for journalists is taken with flippancy.

In other climes. It is an exciting development that some media schools are already planning to introduce a groundbreaking degree program called the ‘Bachelor of Arts in Content Creation and Social Media.’ This is a testament to the changing face of communication and journalism, recognizing the pivotal role of social media and content creation in today’s information landscape.

We must admit the unbundling of mass communications courses at the undergraduate levels in Nigeria is almost completed, the question is do we have enough journalism educators, teachers who can transmit globally relevant knowledge to intakes of these courses?

We must also note some universities are yet to catch up. The goal of this “unbundling” initiative was to provide students interested in studying Mass Communication with a range of specialized academic courses. These include Public Relations, Media Studies, Journalism and Media Studies, Advertising, Broadcasting, Film and Multimedia Studies, Development Communication Studies, and Information and Media Studies. This was meant to bring theoretical knowledge more in line with practical skills, reflecting the global trends in media-related studies and learning.

It is very important at this point to remind the educators who guide our future communicators, on the need to develop themselves and take a leap into the evolving world of media education.  For students here are some points to note:

Break free from the traditional mould and embrace changes:  There is no gainsaying that those who remain in the past will be in the dark side of life. It is time to embrace the art of digital storytelling, and to let creativity soar.

Demand classes are a mixture of theory and practical:  this should be the role of the tutors but in case they miss this, students should make a demand. When classes are a vibrant mix of theory and practice, there will be a clear willingness to incorporate real-world experiences, hands-on exercises, and guest speakers who are industry experts. By having evolving teaching methods alongside the ever-changing field, students will not only be prepared for the modern job market but also be inspired to thrive in it.

Education doesn’t stop at the classroom door mentality: Yes, the official curriculum might not always keep up with the lightning-fast changes in the media industry. But this is where your determination comes into play. Don’t hesitate to explore online courses, workshops, and internships that can equip you with those crucial digital skills.

Connect with professionals in the field: start your own projects, and let your natural curiosity drive you. The future of journalism and communication is in your hands, and embracing opportunities to adapt and grow will be your secret to success.

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