Twenty years ago people had a limited number of ways to get news but the internet provides nearly limitless choices. What does that mean for journalism schools?

Howard Finberg of Poynter addresses the issue.

Journalism schools need to adapt or risk becoming irrelevant

The scary thing about a disruption is that you don’t know where it will go.

Forty years ago, we didn’t realize the first cellphone call would lead to mobile computing and smartphones. Twenty years ago, we didn’t realize that Amazon would transform retail shopping. Ten years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter.

You just don’t know where disruptive innovation will lead.

What we do know, however, is that the future of journalism education is at a critical point for two reasons.

1. Time is running out. Disruption, driven by economics and technology, is coming to the university system much more quickly than most administrators realize.

2. Journalism education will undergo fundamental shifts in how journalism is taught and who teaches it. Those who don’t innovate in the classroom will be left behind — just like those who chose not to innovate in the newsroom.

For more than a year, a heated discussion has raged about the future of journalism education. Academics, foundation leaders and professionals are still debating what the future of j-education will look like, just as we are all arguing about what the future of journalism will look like.

These discussions have been fueled in part by a survey that Poynter’s News University conducted in the spring of 2012, in preparation for a speech I gave at the European Journalism Centre. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, that the positions of both educators and professionals haven’t changed much in the past year.

A new Poynter NewsU survey conducted during the past three months shows no shift in attitudes for either group. With more than 1,800 responses, equally divided between professionals and academics, there is still a wide gap — more than 40 points — between the two groups of survey respondents.