Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Communication and Information

Major Professor

Michelle T. Violanti

Committee Members

James G. Stovall, Elizabeth M. Hendrickson, Michael L. Waugh

Abstract

The field of journalism has gone through several years of turmoil as new technology, platforms, and economic hardships have swept away traditional journalistic practices and models. Print media continues to hemorrhage jobs and money while media outlets adjust to technology-enhanced reporting. College journalism majors often face changing curriculum and graduate feeling unprepared to be competitive in the journalistic job market. While many things have changed in the field, one pillar of journalism that has not changed is the need for journalists to possess an excellent writing ability, supplemented with the ability to think analytically. The connection between students’ ability to write well and their self-efficacy belief towards their writing ability is well documented. This study examines factors that play into journalistic writing self-efficacy, such as background, strategies for classroom success, and experiences, as well as looks at the variables that determine a student’s ability to write well in a journalistic format. Findings show that classroom education is the most important variable in developing actual journalistic writing ability. Also, students who write well journalistically tend to have lower critical thinking skills, causing a conundrum for journalism industry leaders who desire both skills in reporters.

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