Journalism programs at colleges and universities have been under attack for committing a variety of sins, real and imagined. Some of the common criticisms include:
- Many traditional journalism programs are seen as too practical and too applied, serving as little more than trade schools.
- In contrast, programs housed in Communication Departments are sometimes criticized as too theoretical. They mandate courses that may be less relevant to journalists (i.e., human communication, interpersonal communication, organizational communication) than other courses in politics, sociology, history, economics and English might be.
- Veteran TV newsman Walter Cronkite and others warn that some student journalists spend too much time taking journalism, communication and other media-oriented courses. They should spend more time taking a broad variety of liberal arts classes where they can develop a greater understanding of what to write about, instead of just learning the techniques of writing.
- In a scathing overview of the field, Rolling Stone criticized it for attracting too many public relations majors, diluting journalism's attempt to ferret out the truth, and for allegedly turning the field into little more than a training ground for paid corporate liars.
Fairfield University's approach to journalism has avoided most of these problems. Like many Ivy League schools, Fairfield does not have a single program housed in a sole department. Instead, through its core curriculum, it mandates the kind of broad liberal arts education stressed by Cronkite.
As an English major at Fairfield interested in journalism, you'll take specific courses in news writing, broadcast production, political and government reporting, and many related areas. But instead of focusing solely on a set of technical skills that may soon become outdated, you also will be encouraged to take coursework in areas like politics, American Studies, sociology and history so you can learn a body of knowledge and do a better job of communicating it to an audience. By doing so, you'll develop the kind of critical thinking skills needed to cope with the inevitable changes in the journalism world.
Simply put, you don't just learn how to write and broadcast, you also learn what to write about.
You can pursue journalism in at least 5 different ways, based on your interests:
- Major in English and take the journalism sequence to fulfill some of the requirements of the major. Contact: Prof. Simon, ext. 2792.
- Minor in English/Journalism, and major in a related area. Contact: Prof. Simon, ext. 2792.
- Major in Communication and take journalism courses in English to help fulfill the requirements of the major. Contact: Prof. Ryan, ext. 2566.
- Complete a dual major in English and a related area (politics, American Studies, communication, sociology, economics, history).
- Major in New Media in the Visual and Performing Arts Department, taking broadcast journalism courses, and also complete a major or minor in English/Journalism. Contact: Prof. Mayzik, ext. 2268
Recommended in all cases:
- Join The Mirror campus newspaper (ext. 2533)
- Join Stag TV on-campus TV channel (ext. 4118) or WVOF-FM (ext. 4111)
- Complete at least 1 journalism internship.
Two literary magazines, The Sound and Dogwood, also provide excellent editing experiences.
Learn more about journalism and media careers from "Media Careers Night," an event hosted by the English/journalim, communication, and film, television, and media studies programs where six alumni spoke about their career path from Fairfield graduation to their jobs in the media industry.