Indiana Daily Student

End of School of Journalism marks beginning of the Media School

by Carmen ?Heredia Rodriguez

The era of IU journalism as an independent entity came to an end July 1.

Current and former faculty, staff and students gathered June 30 in Weil Journalism Library in Ernie Pyle Hall for an ice cream social to celebrate the journalism program’s final day as an independent school.

“This is a day for us to remember our past and to think about our future,” Journalism Chair Bonnie Brownlee said.

The University has consolidated the School of Journalism with the communications and culture and telecommunications departments into the Media School, a new school within the College of Arts and Sciences. The merger went into effect July 1.

“We’re bringing all of these together so that we can be really smart with the resources and really look at what we can do,” Media School Associate Dean Lesa Hatley Major said. “Our goal is to make this the best media school in the country and internationally.”

The Media School will be located in Franklin Hall. The building will house all student media and contain the latest digital equipment to give students greater access to technology. David Ernst, senior systems administrator of journalism, said that the move toward a more digital education has already begun in the program.

“A lot of the curriculum so far has kind of evolved into where we’re going in the Media School,” Ernst said. “I know that the faculty members are even taking steps to even further that, so it’s more of a multimedia rich-type ?environment.”

Approximately 20 members of the IU School of Journalism community were present to share their memories. Although the merger has been finalized, some alumni are not looking forward to journalism’s loss of autonomy.

“Well, I’m not happy about going back in the college,” said Marjorie Smith Blewett, a former lecturer at the School of Journalism. ”I liked our independent school. That’s the part I’m most upset about is losing our independence, but time moves on. Things move on.”

The journalism program began as a department under the college in 1911. The department grew to become an independent school in 1989.

As the degree transitions back into the college, it’s important the program retains its emphasis on professional development, associate professor Jim Kelly said.

“I think its imperative that we remain a professional program with a strong connection to the journalism profession that we’ve maintained for the last one hundred years,” Kelly said. Trevor Brown, professor emeritus and former dean of the School of Journalism during the program’s transition to autonomy, is confident journalism will continue to excel under the new arrangement.

“All this simply to say that what was happening in the early ‘70s is not altogether strikingly different than what’s happening now, and it’s that that makes me optimistic about the Media School,” Brown said. “Painful, and it really is painful. Painful though this transition is, there is a sadness in me, but there’s also tremendous optimism and hope.”

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