I am a junior convergence journalism major in the JMC Department. In 1983, a generation earlier, my dad was a junior television/radio major in the JMC department.
Much has changed in those 32 years in the halls of the Don H. Morris building, but the core of the department has remained the same.
The JMC Department Then
When my father enrolled in the JMC Department, there were three available majors. Students could study print, TV/radio or ad/PR. Classes were still held in Morris but were taught by names unfamiliar to me.
Dr. Charles Marler was the chair of the department. Dutch Hoggatt, Merlin Mann and Larry Bradshaw also held positions on staff. The classroom furniture was nothing more than tables and chairs.
The Optimist was still a requirement for many students, but it was written on computer terminals using “word processors.” Students were also assigned shifts on the school’s radio network. My dad believes that opportunities like these help to distinguish him from his competitors after graduation.
“I was better trained and had more experience out of college than kids from the big journalism institutions.”
The JMC Department Now
The department still offers three majors, but they are now called convergence journalism, ad/PR and multimedia. JMC classes have been consolidated to the third floor of Morris.
Dr. Cheryl Bacon presides as the current chair of the department, and there is a whole new staff. We now have two different computer labs, each with a room full of iMac computers. There is also a newsroom specifically designed for the production of The Optimist.
What Hasn’t Changed
While much of the furniture and many of the people in the department have changed, the information being taught hasn’t.
The core curriculum remains. Comm. Law and Basics News are still the foundation to any journalism student. The department still believes hands-on experience is invaluable and offers multiple avenues for students to hone their skills outside of the classroom.
Most importantly, students are graduating with the skills to take on any challenges their fields throw at them.