chapter  10
9 Pages

iPhones and eyeshades: journalism and the university’s role in promoting a dynamic public sphere

ByMichael Bromley

Autobiography is not the common currency of academics. This contribution begins somewhat apologetically with an exception. When I entered the academy (in the UK), atypically beyond the age of forty and without any formal training, faculty workload was comprised of teaching, research, and administration. As a novitiate, and notwithstanding a twenty-year-plus prior career in journalism, communications, and the media, there were strong impulses to internalize the normative assumptions embedded in this terminology. Twenty years later, the (Australian) university where I am employed categorizes faculty work in terms of learning, discovery, and engagement. The shift is not merely semantic: it is indicative of a number of contemporary trends in the university, including:

an attempted, if not always actually attained, reorientation from an inward focus to looking out to the world at large;1

the centralization of the range of studies of communication, including journalism, in the curricula of universities in many places;2

the recognition of and engagement with (students’) encountered knowledge;3 a change of concentration in the study of communication and related fields from

deconstruction to creation;4

an awareness, if not universal acceptance, of asynchronous “ubiquitous learning, that is, ‘any time, any place, any one’ learning”;5

the impact of digital information and communication technologies (ICTs);6 the collapse of distinctions between study, work, leisure, creativity, citizenship;7 the massification of higher education over the long twentieth century.8