Ag Coms Blog Post 3: Dear Journalism Department,

Class was cancelled twice this week.

The journalism department, to my understanding, faces upheaval.  They hiring new professors and changing curriculums.  From my professors I gather that the biggest debate within the journalism department right now involved the legitimacy of public relations as a journalism practice.

Professor Gearhart probably gave my favorite definition: Journalism means information communication.  Public relations means persuasive communication.  Neither is black- and- white.  Journalism tries to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but public relations can be more selective.

To me, it sounds like the entire department can agree that journalism teaches applied writing, which is why I personally chose the major.  Here are some other things I would like to see:

  • Help us manage our electives.  Cal Poly is so convoluted in terms of its graduation requirements and class availability that students are basically bum- rushed into any elective with space. I want to take technical writing but it doesn’t look possible based on my future plans.  Maybe this could be an automatically department- approved elective?  Or a substitution for one of the existing major electives?   I think our advisors should help us decide which elective will complement our career paths, and get those  (which mine did.  Thanks, advisor!)
  • Get more teachers.  I know you guys are on it.  I applaud.  We have awesome faculty and staff but more often than not they’re overworked, underpaid, burned out, and/ or juggling other jobs.  Our secretary had to be hospitalized. That should be a major hint right there.  Stress kills, and these jobs are stressful.
  • Get a department head, so we look more like a department and less like a laughingstock.
  • 203 is a TERRIBLE intro to journalism course!  I am so glad it’s being abolished.  It teaches majors only about one concentration and leaves freshman totally confused as to what they want to do further down the line. Not to mention it gives people stomach ulcers.  True story.  Usually, 203 only teaches students that they DON’T want to write for newspapers.  I’m excited that the department wants to bring it back to something with a little bit of everything.
  • Global Coms?  What is that?  Why is it in our curriculum if nobody teaches it?
  • Add an MMJ concentration.  I would never chose this.  I think MMJ’s are like robots that live off water and microchips and do nothing but churn out stories all day long. I think they put people like videographers and editors out of a job.  Their devotion to social media may be single-handedly contributing to the deterioration of the human race.  I also think they neglect their children.  But a lot of students want to be one, so why not?
  • Update the computers in the 203 lab to include recent versions of Adobe CS and Final Cut Express, please!  Or at least make them consistent with the rest of the computers on campus.
  • Less learn by doing.  I know Cal Poly’s motto is “Learn by doing”, but there is too much learn by doing going on here.  I am tired of professors up and leaving during lab time while students wrestle with an application.   This week, I get the privilege of teaching myself InDesign.  I know that students are frustrated and crunched for time, especially since the programs are too expensive for us to buy and use at home, and the faculty is “too busy” working their other hundred jobs to help us.  Mike the Technician deserves a hallway named after him (and a pay raise), because he’s probably helped me more with technology than any teacher.
  • What’s with all this reliance on technology?    “My Computer Crashed” is like the new “The Dog Ate My Homework”. There should be a class on What To Do If Your Computer Crashes.

On the whole, though, our teachers care about us enough to take our comments to heart and work to give us the best educations possible.  Their dedication lets me know that no matter what concentration I pick, I’m getting  pretty good education.  And that is the truth.

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