Journalism Will Die Faster at Pace than Print-Journalism in the US

Message: The following is a Letter from the Editor published on Nov. 16, 2011, in regards to the role of Pace University’s Media, Communications, and Visual Arts department and the struggling journalism curriculum.

The Communication Arts and Journalism program at Pace, otherwise just known as the journalism major for short, will cease to exist faster than the assumption that newspapers across America will die off, and it appears that absolutely nothing is being done by administrators to improve it.

After doing some research, between now and who knows how far ago, there have been 54 different journalism courses. If you take a look at the class schedule for this fall semester, there’s only a dismal four journalism courses.

Those four classes can be done in one semester alone. I do want to note that out of the 54, another four courses migrated over to the art or media and communication arts programs, such as photography and an ethics course.

But what about the other 46 courses? Where have they gone?

Have we gone to the higher-ups and voice about our views on this?

Yes.

I met with Media, Communications, and Visual Arts (MCA) Department Chair Robert Klaeger, on Oct. 2, and asked about the lack of journalism courses. Although I’m sure he and I won’t agree on many things, he did agree that there is a lack of courses. He stated that there will be more courses offered in the spring semester.

The courses for next spring are now open and there are now six total journalism courses being offered. Although I appreciate the tremendous increase of the two more classes, four of the courses I have already taken, one about sports journalism I frankly don’t have an interest for, and then there’s Radio and Television NewsWriting which is an improvement but that is only one course.

I should add that he showed me a ranking of the worst college majors and pointed out that journalism ranked number one as the worst. The ranking was done by The Daily Beast, the same news site that ranked Pace as one of the best party schools in the US.

Is it fair to base a judgment by the same people that ranked Pace as one of the best party schools? (You can find The Pace Chronicle’s story on the best party ranking online at PaceChronicle.net).

How about you use the ranking as a wake-up call to help students seek and learn other resources to make sure they still obtain a job after graduation whether by creating new courses or some events at Pace, rather than look at a ranking and think “why bother,” because that’s how it looked to me.

The irony, of course, is that on the Pace website’s journalism program page, it states that it’s “a growing field.” Seems like The Daily Beast or Pace needs to update their stories.

What has happened to courses such as “Introduction to Broadcast News,” “Advanced Reporting,” “Television News Production,” “Arts and Entertainment Journalism,” and the other 16 topic courses?

Is it that we no longer have professors to teach these courses? Is it that Pace doesn’t have the funding to hire new adjuncts or pay existing professors to teach them? Or is Pace being selfish and in an attempt to save money for “up-to-date” equipment for their production courses?

Just take a look at the MCA’s promotional video on the Pace website, although there are short speeches made by a couple of journalism professors, the main focus is the production side of life.

If I was looking at the video as a potential Pace student wanting to major in journalism, I would think, “Wow, look at all those cameras and editing software. I’m sure those materials can definitely help me a lot for a career in broadcast news.”

With the exception of “Media Production I,” you’re going to be fooled.

Although it is great to have these production materials, it is mainly used to make documentaries that are usually abroad with students paying a few thousand dollars more for travel expenses or a public relations tool for other programs at Pace.

This summer I had the privilege to intern for News 12 in The Bronx, an experience that revitalized my adoration for journalism and opened my eyes to possibly work for broadcast. However, depression set upon me and after talking to other college editors across America after realizing that News 12 has the same editing equipment the MCA department has, as well as other production equipment (namely cameras and microphones).

We have the same production materials as News 12 yet there is no course that aims to bridge it with journalism. We have a good emphasis on print journalism at Pace, which I do appreciate, but a severe lack for broadcast journalism. There is the “Art of Anchoring” course but it’s only one course and, when I took the class, the teleprompter didn’t work. Despite the technical difficulties, it’s a good start, but it shouldn’t end there.

The production materials are used heavily for the documentary courses, which I’m sure is a great source to learning production and the editing process but personally, although I like watching documentaries, I don’t care about making one unless it has a connection to journalism and without paying thousands of dollars more.

If students at any university have the thought that they are not academically pleased, especially as they pay $36,000 to $50,000 for tuition a year, and decide that they and/or a group of friends must find another source to be educated, then something is obviously wrong.

With the role of editor-in-chief of The Pace Chronicle, one of the many goals in mind was to give students more options in learning about journalism, in both print and broadcast. We’ve had a trip to Fox News, a couple events in collaboration with The New York Times such as video chats with editors and tours, to sponsoring for the Associated Collegiate Press’ (ACP) journalism and media conventions.

Last March, 15 students and I had the privilege to attend ACP’s National College Journalism Convention in Los Angeles. Words cannot express how much I’ve learned about journalism in those three days compared to that entire semester. In late October, we had the opportunity to attend ACP’s media convention in Orlando. Yet again, I’ve learned more about journalism, in both print and broadcast, that Pace or the MCA couldn’t do this semester.

I’m constantly finding alternatives to a journalism education, for not just myself, but for other students too and although these conventions have definitely been a plus, it’s difficult to attempt to make it happen every semester. On behalf of The Pace Chronicle, I submitted a budget request to attend the next ACP journalism convention set to happen in Seattle for March 2012. Despite a strong argument to ensure Pace students seek this alternative for a journalism education, it was unfortunately denied at the Student Association (SA) meeting on Nov. 11.

Ironically enough, two reasons why it was denied was because The Pace Chronicle just had the media convention and to allow other student organizations the chance plan for their respective trips to conferences, yet a budget request was passed by SA to attend the National Association for Campus Activities in Charlotte despite having another type of leadership conference take place earlier this month in Miami, organized by SA.

So the initiative to an alternative source of journalism hit a major speed bump, but then again, students shouldn’t be organizing events because of the lack of courses but yet it’s happening.

We students are paying loans and are in debt to learn for a career that apparently the chair of the MCA showed that it’s one of the worst majors to have. No professor should ever do something of that nature. It was rude, and it’s not breaking news that it is a difficult career to start in.

I have emailed Dean Nira Herrmann of Dyson for a talk, and despite stating that discussions with the chair seemed to not go anywhere, she stills replied stating to talk with the chair. No good there. I have a meeting booked with President Stephen J. Friedman as I would like to know his thoughts about it. Let’s skip all the middle men and women and just talk to the top man himself.

This is not meant to offend the professors who do teach journalism or any other course in the MCA program, as I know they do their best to provide us students the proper education, but far more can be taught and offered.

Again, how do we go from 54 courses to perhaps just 10 in the academic year?

Yes there are related courses in the MCA class schedule but again, the few related to journalism have been taken or gone to make way for more public relations courses which I’m sure will become the latest major for the MCA in the near future.

The last couple seconds in the MCA promotional video has Klaeger stating, “The Media, Communications, Visual Arts Department is caring.”

Sadly, I don’t see it in the case for journalism. I wish I could, and I can only hope that future Pace students will but at this rate, at least for the journalism program, say goodbye.

From 54 to 4: The Journalism Courses, Past & Present, at Pace:

JRN 101 – Introduction to News Media

JRN 102 – History of Journalism

JRN 103 – Ethics and Law of Mass Communication

JRN 104 – News Reporting

JRN 104A – News Reporting Practicum

JRN 105 – Introduction to Broadcast News

JRN 106 – Photography I

JRN 110 – Gateway to Journalism

JRN 200R – Topic: Business Journalism

JRN 200S – Topics: News Media and Social Organization

JRN 200T – Topics: Journalism in Film

JRN 200U – Topic: International Journalism

JRN 200V – Topics in Journalism: Suburban Journalism

JRN 201 – Advanced Reporting

JRN 202 – Computer Editing

JRN 202A – Computer Editing Practicum

JRN 203 – Feature Writing

JRN 204 – Radio and Television News Writing

JRN 205 – Radio News Production

JRN 206 – Television News Production

JRN 207 – Sports Journalism

JRN 208 – Photo Journalism

JRN 210 – Journalism at the Movies

JRN 211 – Arts and Entertainment Journalism

JRN 221 – Intercultural and International Communication

JRN 296 – Topic: Journalism at the Movies

JRN 296A – Topic: Arts and Entertainment Journalism

JRN 296B – Topic: Using the News

JRN 296C – Topic: Dealing with the Media-Primer for Profession

JRN 296D – Topic: Inside TV News

JRN 296E – Topic: International Journalism

JRN 296F – Topic: Getting Smart by Getting the News

JRN 296G – Topic: Producing a Pace Video Magazine

JRN 296H – Topic: Journalism at the Movies

JRN 296I – Journalism and the Law

JRN 296J – Topic in Journalism: Storytelling For Television: What’s Real and What’s Reality

JRN 296K – Topic: “This Just In – Working in Breaking Broadcasting News”

JRN 296M – Topic: Photo Journalism

JRN 296P – Topic: Arts and Entertainment Journalism

JRN 296S – Topic: Shoddy Journalism: The Distortion of News

JRN 296T – Topics in Journalism and the Law

JRN 296W – Topic: Surviving the 1990’s Media Maze

JRN 301 – Layout and Graphics

JRN 301A – Layout and Graphics Practicum

JRN 302 – Writing and Marketing Magazine Articles

JRN 303 – Advanced Television News Reporting

JRN 304 – Communication Research Methods

JRN 305 – The Business Side of the New Media

JRN 306 – Seminar in Journalism

JRN 386 – The Art of Anchoring – From Cronkite to Couric

JRN 390 – Honors Project in Journalism

JRN 395 – Independent Study in Journalism

JRN 490 – Internship

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