Journalism Dept. to omit major emphases

By Amanda Martin

In keeping with a national trend, NIU’s Department of Journalism will pare down its course requirements and eliminate the department’s major emphases effective this fall.

The four emphases in the department—news/editorial, photojournalism, broadcasting and public relations—are being eliminated to allow students more flexibility within the major. This will allow students who want to take a variety of courses within the field of journalism more freedom to do so, said journalism department chairman Donald Brod.

The department’s restructuring stems from the growth within the field of journalism and a need to give students a broader-based major, he said.

He said students involved in the reorganized program will not be required to specialize in any particular aspect of journalism.

Suzanne McLauglin, a junior majoring in broadcast journalism, said she believes the restructured program will allow students “more choice.”

“There are some really interesting courses (within the department). Sometimes you don’t get the chance to take certain courses because you’re too busy fulfilling requirements.”

Among other changes, the department will delete Journalism 300—Journalism Basics II—from the curriculum entirely.

Nancy Toma, a junior minoring in journalism, said she and many of her fellow students favor the course’s elimination, saying that “it’s going to be a big relief.”

Abraham Bass, journalism undergraduate studies coordinator, said material covered in Journalism 300 will be redistributed between two other journalism courses. Bass said the course centered only on newspaper skills and was limiting to students who wanted to pursue different aspects of journalism.

Bass and Brod agreed that by becoming less specialized, the new program actually would offer a greater number of students more opportunities within the major.

While the department researched different journalism programs throughout the nation, NIU’s program is not modeled after any particular university’s journalism school, Brod said.

Bass said the reorganization toward a more unified major “is meeting the suggestions of the national journalism accrediting organization.” The journalism department currently is nationally accredited and will be re-evaluated in the fall of 1990.

Students currently enrolled in the journalism program will have the option to follow the requirements of their present catalog or adhere to the new program.