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Journalism leaves English Department

By Emily Solinski

Change is hitting the Journalism and Professional Writing Program (JPW) at the College for the upcoming Fall 2016 semester.

Looking at better access to labs, digital resources and new high-definition cameras in the television studio, journalism students are intended to reap major benefits in the future as the program is now recognized as an independent major, according to a TCNJ Today article from Tuesday, March 15.

“The big change is our status,” Associate Professor of English and Coordinator of the JPW program Donna Shaw said in an email interview. “Now we’ll be a freestanding major, which gives us a lot of opportunities.”

Previously, JPW had been an interdisciplinary major within the English Department. Now recognized as “freestanding,” the major can move from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences to the School of Arts and Communication.

Even with this shift between schools, the JPW program will work in conjunction with the School of Arts and Communication and English Department so students can remain eligible for the English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, and be able to also join the communications honor society of Lambda Pi Eta, according to an email sent to JPW students on Saturday, March 12 from Shaw.

The JPW program is not facing changes in curriculum, but in the additional enhancements available resulting from this shift between schools.

“The School of Arts and Communication has a strong emphasis on helping students develop into strong, analytical thinkers with a strong background in communication skills for future careers in digital and traditional media,” sophomore communication studies major and Head Senator for the School of Arts and Communication Lindsay Thomas said. “Journalism is rapidly evolving and it is time to embrace a digital first mantra, where one can see a shift from paper to electronic forms of media.” 

With JPW faculty offices moving to the Art and Interactive Multimedia Building, access to these crucially-needed digital resources will become more readily available to journalism students in the coming years.

“It’s an exciting time to be involved in the journalism and writing fields because even as the digital media revolution has upended the business models for news, it also has given us new tools and opportunities to reach the audience,” Shaw said.

While the JPW program has been available at the College for more than 30 years, this new position as a freestanding major will create more visibility for the program both on and off campus, according to Shaw.

“We definitely see this as a growth opportunity,” Shaw said.


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