Where USF faculty, students and graduates are invited to talk about journalism and its problems and opportunities. This blog is not affiliated with the University of San Francisco, nor is the university responsible for any of the opinions expressed herein -- though it is certainly responsible for the people who entertain those opinions, having educated them. They make us proud.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

alternative journalism

I guess this is my bit to say what I think about a journalism major. It's a good idea. Mostly because I think people with real intentions to pursue journalism as a career should have a greater selection of classes to choose from; and by this I mean classes geared more towards professional development and less towards theory. My media studies classes, while interesting, have left me with one major thought: consolidation is bad. I remember much more from my arts reporting, news and feature writing classes than anything else now that I am working as a journalist. This is not to say that j-students shouldn't get a more well-rounded academic background. Unless they are writing about media coverage specifically, I believe a double major or minor in some kind of social science or life science is more helpful than an emphasis in media studies. This is just an honest opinion from someone who is putting her valuable USF education to use in the field that she intended to go into. My education in sociology has changed the way I observe the world and helped me craft story ideas.

Finally getting to the title of this post, maybe a journalism major would make room for more alternative journalism training. I missed this at USF. I now work for an alt-weekly and most of the skills I have developed writing for this publication have been learned through practice, seminars and a summer fellowship at the Academy for Alternative Journalism. I'm able to implement a narrative voice in many of my articles, and I'm given ample time to explore int-depth and investigative reporting. The alt-press is, for the most part, conducive to the kind of meaty journalism that much of the mainstream seems to be missing these days. I remember hearing the mainstream criticized in many of my media theory classes, but those classes never actually gave me the tools to pursue an alternative to a mainstream career.

So I stop there for now....feedback welcome.

1 comment:

....J.Michael Robertson said...

Marvelous! My god members *can* post on their own, which is what I had in mind. Vrinda talks about all the things she did NOT learn at USF, and I will choose to concentrate on those areas of omission that a major would remedy. I don't remember if Vrinda took feature/magazine writing. If she did, just let me apologize right up front because that class is *supposed* to prepare students for writing long-form narrative pieces. A major would make it much more likely that all students with an interest in journalism took such a course. As for in-depth investigative pieces, a "public interest" reporting course would address that. And perhaps with some regularity we could mount a senior seminar in which a whole semester would be built around reporting on a single issue. Anyway, I take from Vrinda's post what works for me as I promote the major!!! Also, I know that Vrinda is writing many interesting stories to which one may link. Ms. Normand: some links please.