Journalism Program a Major Shortcoming
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 18:04
Georgetown offers an impressive array of majors across its four undergraduate schools, including such disparate areas as medieval studies and international political economy. Yet among all these possibilities, one standard area of study remains conspicuously absent — journalism.
The Hoya reported in February that Georgetown had announced plans to introduce a minor in journalism, to becoming available to students in the fall of 2012 (The Hoya, “Journalism Minor Now Accepting Applications,” A1, Feb. 7, 2012). This is an improvement, but it is not nearly sufficient. It is surprising and disappointing that a school of Georgetown’s caliber does not offer a journalism major, which would offer considerable benefits to both current students and the university’s reputation.
A more expansive journalism program would be appealing to high school applicants who are interested in Georgetown but concerned about the lack of a formal journalism major. As college admissions becomes increasingly competitive across the country, Georgetown ought to use every tool at its disposal to attract a diverse and talented applicant pool. A journalism major will further solidify Georgetown’s position as one of the leading universities in the country while ensuring that the university’s academic focus is not perceived to be one-dimensional.
Establishing a journalism major would also allow Georgetown students to take full advantage of a city that is one of the nation’s preeminent hubs for media activity. The District of Columbia is home to some of the titans of both old and new media, from The Washington Post and the Gallup polling organization to the assortment of new media covering Capitol Hill, yet Georgetown still lacks a journalism major that could have the potential to tap into the wealth of experience and inspiration available in D.C.
Georgetown is also recognized across the country as a great university for students who are politically active. The school’s strength in politics naturally lends itself to an interest in journalism, as the media is intimately connected with the political arena. Students who are pursuing careers in politics would benefit from a greater understanding of how journalists perform their jobs.
The existence of a journalism major would also help cultivate a more active and informed student body on the Hilltop. A good proportion of Georgetown students stay up to speed on current events, so they would already be prepared for the civic engagement that studying journalism requires. Furthermore, these students would have outlets to immediately apply the skills that they learn in the classroom by participating in Georgetown’s student-run media.
Instituting a journalism minor was undoubtedly a step in the right direction, but it still leaves Georgetown’s academic opportunities lacking. The journalism minor alone will not draw prospective students to Georgetown, nor will it result in sufficient build-up of the necessary number of faculty in the department. A major, on the other hand, would enable students to gain the full benefits of both D.C. and Georgetown’s scholastic resources. Georgetown students need and deserve a full journalism major.
DAN HEALY is a junior in the College.