Phi Beta Cons

In Defense of J-school

As a student who is currently enrolled in Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, I feel compelled to respond to Candace’s latest post.
I have thus far earned 32 college credits over my undergraduate career. Among those credits, 26 have come from non-journalism courses. Furthermore, I have never taken more than one journalism-related class during any given academic term. This healthy dose of non-”knowledge-averse” courses (to use her term) is likely a product of Medill’s strict academic standards. These guidelines require J-school students to study a broad range of subjects within Northwestern’s history, literature, math, science, economics, political science, art/art history, and philosophy departments. In order to graduate, at least 30 of our 45 required credits
 must come from non-journalism classes.

I am not arguing that Medill is perfect–it most certainly is not (during the CBS Memogate kerfuffle, one of my professors informed the class that although Dan Rather’s reporting was “sloppy,” he still believed the “core assertions” of the CBS report). However, with that said, Medill’s attempt to enforce a “knowledge-rich” approach is significantly more comprehensive than the standards imposed by, for example, NU’s theater or engineering programs.

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