Crisis in Journalism: A Microcosm – 3

The battle in D:F/M over the direction of the journalism curriculum (reflecting the many conflicts of the internecine war of several years also ongoing in D:F/M) forced this writer into a publish or perish mode. This series is one of the results.

II) Journalism needs representation, just like film and media, on the P&B and P&C committee. And to be blunt: We need someone who understands journalism. We can talk of collegiality and collaboration but C&C can develop better with a sounder structure.

III) Regarding portfolios, I don’t believe adjuncts should be responsible for managing/editing/operating online or off-line publications for their students (unless they want to). I think the adjuncts should be responsible for students in their classes completing assignments that can be submitted for publication, which I believe can strongly prepare them for the second part of the sequence. I don’t think it’s a big deal that students completing the first semester of the news writing-basic reporting sequence (whatever we call it), in order to pass the course, have to have completed two or three articles to be submitted to a student publication. My students are required publish at least three. This publish or perish imperative has resulted in a solid tradition of student achievements.

I believe that should also occur in the second semester. In my reasoning, students need to have a good set of portfolios by their junior year. I would say 6 to 12 published pieces at a minimum. I’m talking about writing here but there are other media, such as podcasting and online broadcasting. However, I think that needs to be discussed.

Something I quickly observed requiring students to write for publication resulted in a strong demarcation between students who did the homework and those who refused.

IV) One of my main gripes has been – under two chairs with significant support from the P&Bs – the spurious portrayal of the WORD as department property or its portrayal  as a reflection of what the department does or does for its students while at the same time F/M shunned the mechanism that makes it work, said mechanism being requiring students to write for publication. This particular practice of the department’s tradition of smoke & mirrors needs to be trashed. Either we make this portfolio process a serious part of the curriculum or we leave it to individual instructors to decide what they want to do and support them – not undermine them.

End of Part 3

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