Boulder Daily Camera: University of Colorado ‘Vague with Direction of Journalism Education’

Journalism’s place at the University of Colorado feels far from assured and the plan in place to shepherd it to its new incarnation is coming across as muddled, an editorial late last month in Boulder’s Daily Camera alleges.

This past spring, as many in the journalism community are aware, the Board of Regents at CU voted to close the university’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication based upon the recommendation of an outside advisory board.  The vote officially ended a long discontinuance process that has been viewed by some as a harbinger of dark days ahead for journalism education nationwide.

School officials have apparently promised that journalism and the people who teach it will continue to exert a strong presence at CU.  Yet, the first related decision, in the wake of the j-school’s closure: choosing as the interim head of the j-faculty an Italian and French professor with not an ounce of journalism in his blood or background.

Writing for the Camera‘s editorial board, Erika Stutzman confirmed, “This [decision] led many in the community– particularly CU graduates who are or were journalists– to say, huh?  In shutting down the program, the school’s leadership was emphatic that its dedication to journalism education would continue.  And this board wondered where that newfound desire to have a strong interdisciplinary focus went.”

Stutzman also criticizes the roundabout decision-making on other issues, including the formation of several in-house and outside groups responsible for bigger-picture planning involving the new school into which all-things-journalism (faculty, classes, students) will be segueing.  “Many of tomorrow’s journalists– and yes, there will be journalists tomorrow– will be seeking out the most interesting academic programs to learn their craft,” she writes.  “By hemming and hawing during this shutdown-building phase of the old journalism school and the interdisciplinary one that will emerge, CU has done itself no favors.”

Stutzman’s words echo those that have been sounded throughout the discontinuance process.  For example, in late April, three members of the Board of Regents who did NOT vote for the j-school closure wrote, “[T]he future of CU-Boulder’s journalism education, beyond the President’s promise that it will continue, is unclear.”

In an editorial published around that time, CU Independent editor-in-chief Kate Spencer charged students with the task of creating their own journalism experiences while at CU.  “It is up to you to take back your journalism education and make it your own in a world of discontinuance,” Spencer wrote.  “You want to be a journalist?  Go do it.  It’s up to you now.”

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  1. […] spring 2011, as many in the journalism community are aware, the Board of Regents at CU voted to close the university’s School of Journalism & Mass […]



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