Phi Beta Cons

The Fourth Estate Needs More Econ and History, Not Less

“If the people who are supposed to keep us aware are unaware themselves, how can we know how to stand up for ourselves?” asks Jay Schalin in today’s Pope Center feature, titled “Ignorance Is Not Bliss for Journalism Majors.” Schalin, the Center’s director of policy analysis, is a former reporter who understands how important it is for professional journalists to have knowledge of basic economics, history, and political theory. That’s why he was shocked to learn that UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism recently got rid of its economics, U.S. government, and American history course requirements.

Instead, journalism students will be able to substitute dubious general education courses, such as “Drama 470: Survey of Costume History” and “Women’s Studies 410: Comparative Queer Politics.” “Is [this] decision based on an astonishing lack of awareness…. Or is it due to cynical pandering to students who complain about challenging requirements that force them to expand their horizons?” asks Schalin.

Jesse SaffronJesse Saffron is a writer and editor for the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, a North Carolina-based think tank dedicated to improving higher education in the Tar ...


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