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International News More Requisite in Troubled World

Demands by internationalists in academia to overhaul the education system have grown louder in recent months. Professors who specialize in global scholarship and pedagogy have argued that universities in the United States have been slow at adopting curricula which would deliver new global skills and expertise necessary for students to excel in a more competitive world.

The rapid growth of the internet and other forms of communication has changed the way citizens from all corners of the world communicate, learn about their immediate environment and the world, conduct business, govern, mobilize, socialize, and influence others.

Traditional news media, i.e. newspapers, radio, and television have been greatly impacted. Ordinary citizens can now perform what used to be the most important roles of traditional media. Citizens can serve as purveyors of current affairs, watchdogs on public officials, and advocates of society through their personal electronic devices.

Today, a journalist cannot claim to be the exclusive agent of news from a community. Neither can journalists claim to be the exclusive sources of information in a global marketplace where private citizens use i-phones and digital cameras to capture world events in nearly every corner.

This has dramatically impacted the fortunes of future journalists we graduate from college. Universities must redouble their efforts and resources to create and disseminate knowledge to future communicators that meets the competitive nature of the global economy.

According to the Center for International Initiatives at the American Council on Education, most American colleges in the last six years reduced by 6 percent the requirements in the general education curriculum for students to take courses with an international or global focus. This is a sad development. This should not be the case in journalism schools and colleges.

News gatekeepers, governments, and traditional publishers no longer have full control of the communication flow. Information seekers in many parts of the industrialized world now have myriad choices. The world is marred by economic crises, a growing technological connectedness of this complex free market system, conflicting public and state attitudes about terrorism, democracy, environmental challenges, globalization, and religion continue to escalate.

So, students need to understand how the ever-expanding reach of virtual socialization, communication, global free markets and trade, and democratization will impact their social and cultural wellbeing, as well as economic security.

What we need to consider in 2009 and throughout the next decade is revamp the existing infrastructure to enhance interdisciplinary international education in journalism, economics, politics, sociology, and other fields to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the complex global reality we face today.

Integrating new models of teaching that incorporate international social, cultural, political, economic, and technological approaches are critical to preparing the workforce with essentials better suited to a new global world.

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