There are a fresh crop of seniors that will be graduating in about two weeks, so it’s time to reflect on the past few years and get nice and introspective.
Well, that would be the case if some of us had not been taught the same thing for the past couple of years.
As a transfer student, I can’t speak for the students that have been at Rowan since their freshman year, but I can easily say that I learned more about journalism at community college than I did here in Glassboro.
First off, the whole system is flawed.
Somehow, the journalism department has managed to take a semester’s worth of needed information and stretch it to last multiple years.
There really is not a difference between News Writing I and News Writing II. The same can be said for Sports Journalism I and Sports Journalism II. The most important journalism classes offered at Rowan are Media Ethics and Journalism Practices and Principles. Throw in Media Law and the aforementioned News I and Sports I class, and you have the semester’s worth of basic knowledge that you need.
The whole grading process is also messed up.
In the real world, a writer will report on a story, write it up and pass it along to an editor. The editor will edit the story and pass it back to the writer if changes need to be made.
However, in college – or at least at Rowan – things are handled much differently. You don’t have a chance to get that crucial feedback that will improve the story. Once you hand in the paper, you’re getting that thing graded.
While other students in different programs are getting “real-world experience,” it seems like the ones in this major are getting treated like they’re in high school.
To go along with that, the way that classes are taught is not really realistic either.
Only one professor that I’ve had has told the class that they are better suited learning outside of the classroom. He said that that is the best experience the students could get. We would be kept in class long enough to know what the assignment for the week was before being dismissed to work on it.
Meanwhile, other professors will keep students in a copy editing class for the full time while talking about how bringing baked goods into a newsroom will keep the staff happy.
While the upperclassmen toil away in a News Writing II class, learning the same thing they heard in News I, freshmen are taking general education classes.
How is this beneficial to the young students?
I was a member of The Whit staff this year. They needed people to write. How is a freshman expected to be able to come in and contribute to something like The Whit if they have to wait to take journalism classes?
It just seems backwards. Professors tell students to get involved in the school newspaper, but for the most part, these students do not know how to write.
To prove that it isn’t just the early goings of the major that are flawed, let’s discuss Senior Seminar.
The class is a requirement for seniors. This semester is online, which is a stupid idea anyway. Senior Seminar is a discussion class. How can students have an actual discussion through a computer screen?
However, that’s not the point.
The real problem is that the work done in the class is nonsense.
The most recent assignment called for an 1,800 word paper about a desired work place. That followed a 1,500 word profile about a journalist. Instead of writing these useless papers, why not make the class revolve around one big investigative piece? Give the student the semester to find a scoop and make it into a comprehensive story. That would be more valuable than telling the professor who Matt Miller of Bleacher Report is.
The field of journalism is one that is changing. The written side of it is going away and a modern era is being ushered in. It’s time for the way that classes are taught in the journalism department to follow suit.
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