Journalism and Media Studies Program OK, Says Dept. Chair

Despite circulating rumors and worries about the demise of the Journalism and Media Studies program, Professor Katherine Fry, chairperson of TVRA, assured students last week that the program was secure.

“There has been a rumor circulating that the Journalism and Media Studies (JAMS) program within the Department is in danger because Professors are leaving, required courses will not be offered in the future, and students will not be able to graduate in a timely manner,” said Professor Fry in an email to JAMS majors. “Please know that the JAMS program is not in danger, that students will get the courses that they need, and that the JAMS program is in fine shape.”

The JAMS program was launched in the fall 2016 after the shutdown of a potential merger between broadcast journalism and the journalism program in the English Department. The broadcast journalism major within the TVRA department was transformed into Journalism and Media Studies with a new curriculum.

Because of the small number of students enrolled and early age of the program, classes have been small.

While students were concerned all required courses in all of the JAMS sections are running next semester. Class schedules depend on the number of students who need courses.

What people often don’t understand is that Departments factor many different things when putting together a course schedule,” she said explaining that things like demand and funding affect the semester’s lineup of courses. “We are all always making adjustments as needed,” she said. “We do our very best to offer students what they need to complete their degrees in a timely manner. But timely manner can be different for different students. There’s no one way to do it for each student. Any department chair will tell you the same thing.”

According to Fry, the program is always looking to expand and recruit. The program recruits through the website, undergraduate fairs, by individual faculty at academic and trade conferences. She said, though they would like paid advertising and marketing, BC and CUNY do not have the funds.

For student Richard Ngo, news director of WBCR, the problems with the program don’t lie in the class schedule or size of the major, but in the quality of the courses.

“My take on the classes, I feel they are not doing so well,” said Ngo explaining that his introductory class for JAMS was taught by
a professor with experience in public relations with “no connection to journalism.”

Ngo felt that he didn’t learn what he needed in his intro courses because of unqualified professors and that it has hindered his education.

“Everything has to start from these foundations, these basics,” he said.

“When you [professors] don’t have enough credentials to be here then how are students supposed to progress into higher courses.”

He said he felt that as of now he doesn’t feel ready to enter the workforce and that some of his introductory courses failed to prepare him.

“This is a shame because this is my own major. This is what I really want to do,” he said. “I think we can all agree that if we
still have this situation where there isn’t enough funding, there aren’t enough good professors, and students aren’t graduating on time then we are in a bad situation.”

Katherine Fry said, “intro professors are educated enough to teach the intro classes. They couldn’t be hired if they were not educated enough.”

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