Journalism revamps courses

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The University’s School of Journalism is making big changes to keep up.

“The digital media revolution is a runaway rocket ship,” said the school’s director, Glenn Frankel. “The best you can do is to see the trajectory. You can’t get in front of it.”

The school held a town hall meeting Wednesday to answer questions about the new curriculum it will roll out in this fall. The purpose of event was to inform journalism students so they can take advantage of the big change, Frankel said.

“Our student advisers say that students know the change is coming, but [the students] don’t know the specifics,” Frankel said. “We’re trying to be as transparent and information oriented as we can be. We are, after all, the School of Journalism.”

The curriculum will be a huge overhaul, said Theresa Thomas, an undergraduate academic adviser in the school. The changes in the classroom reflect changes in the professional field, she said.

“With all the layoffs [in journalism], employers don’t want to hire one person to do photo, another person to do video and another person to do the write-up,” Thomas said. “They want one person that can do all those things.”

To train students to be journalistic Swiss Army Knives, multimedia will be incorporated into every course beginning this fall, Thomas said. That emphasis on using various platforms of communication will also be built into the Belo Center for New Media, she said.

“The new building will have a multimedia newsroom,” she said. “It will replicate a professional newsroom as close as possible.”

The Belo Center will house the School of Journalism and will be completed this summer at the corner of Whitis Avenue and Dean Keeton Street, according to the College of Communication’s website.

Thomas said the focus on job-related skills might attract more students to the major. Current students have gladly welcomed the upcoming changes, Thomas said.

“Overall the reaction from students has been very positive,” she said. “They hear same things that we do about the changes in the field [of journalism]. They think they new curriculum is the way forward.”

Journalism sophomore Irma Garcia said she is eager for the new curriculum to go into effect.

“Sophomores have more choice between new and old courses,” she said. “I’ll benefit because I can jump into the new curriculum for my upper division courses.”