Are librarians a type of journalist?

Librarians and journalists both work in information professions. Many share the same goals: to provide equal access to information; to teach citizens to evaluate, analyze and synthesize information; to provide quality resources and even training to community members. The Chicago Public Library provides a great example. Could your journalism program collaborate with other groups to work together on shared goals?

Activities on three levels:

Flashlight: Is journalism a profession only some can enter or an activity anyone can try? Think about the core values of journalism. Hold a class discussion listing other community institutions  that want to provide people with helpful information? Non-profits? Student organizations? Libraries? How long can you make the list?

Spotlight: Review this excerpt from New York University Professor Jay Rosen's book, "What Are Journalists For?" Rosen talks about the social responsibility of journalists to engage communities and help solve problems. Can journalists collaborate with others and yet remain independent? Ask students to write a paper or blog post explaining their views.

Searchlight: University of Missouri associate professor Joy Mayer says that both journalists and librarians  “share a common mission of improving their communities through information.”  Are journalism teachers partners with librarians at your school? As a class project, create and launch a partnership with your local or school library with a digital media literacy component.

Extra credit: Explore the web site of the Digital Public Library of America. Imagine the year 2030, and every community had fully digitized all its archives. Write a short paper or blog post explaining how news media of all types might tap into this resource. Is news more meaningful in historical context? How? Do your local libraries participate in the Digital Public Library of America?