I recently read an article in The Atlantic written by one of its associate editors that seemed to argue against the need for journalism students to learn coding.
After reading this article, I am not quite sure how important coding is for future journalists. Being in this class made me think it is essential, but this article made the impression that you should learn it all or don't learn it at all. Knowing a little bit of code isn't worth much to this editor. One of the points she made was that there are already skilled coders out there who have a computer science background. These people, she said, are going to be the ones acquiring the web design and data visualization jobs required in newsrooms.
Although, she mostly negates the idea that journalists must know code, I think this article made me more inclined to continue educating myself in coding. She makes some valid points when she said traditional writing and reporting jobs may not require much code. However, there are a variety of job opportunities open to us after we graduate, so knowing code can't possibly hurt.
The author also wrote a follow-up piece about the most important skills future journalists should learn in j-school. I think the Merrill College definitely incorporates the topics this author listed into our four-year academic plan, but this article has inspired me to educate myself in these areas even more. The skills the author lists are: statistics, data, studies, pitching, civic issues, online writing and the Internet. A lot of these are covered in JOUR352 and other journalism courses, but what do you think we need to learn more about as Merrill students? And, how do you think coding will help your future careers? Prof. Harvey - what are your thoughts on the coding article? Do you think we should consider taking the next course in coding and web design in order to really develop these skills to make them beneficial? Is knowing the basics not enough in this competitive field?