Tuesday, May 1, 2007

University Presidents See Bright Future for Journalism

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Top university administrators are pleasantly surprised by the steady enrollment growth in their Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) programs. Most of the 11 college presidents and provosts speaking at a recent conference of the future of JMC programs are adding classroom space, investing in technology and upgrading the journalism faculty roster.

The Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication-sponsored event brought together some 25 college presidents, provosts, chancellors, deans and professors to discuss the role of JMC programs within the university. The conference was held in Wheaton, Ill., at the McCormick Tribune Foundation's Cantigny Park, former estate of Chicago Tribune publisher and editor Robert R. McCormick.

ASJMC president Loren Ghiglione of Northwestern University organized the conference. Northwestern president Henry Bienen and University of Illinois chancellor Richard Herman served as co-hosts.

ASJMC members are juggling a variety of challenges and opportunities as they rejuvenate journalism curriculum to keep pace with new technology, shifting audience preferences and major transformation of the news media business model. Despite the all-too frequent reports of layoffs, budget slashing, mediocre starting salaries and uncertain job prospects, enrollments remain robust at many JMC schools.

The academic dignitaries at the Cantigny conference represented a broad cross-section of journalism education. The comments from the top brass of Northwestern, Illinois, University of Missouri, Kent State University, University of Montana, Ball State University, Elon University,
Morgan State University, University of Texas at Arlington, Howard University and Shaw University will be packaged into a report. Watch for release of the report at the Aug. 9-12 AEJMC/ASJMC conference in Washington.

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