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September 28, 2009: The Watering Down of Journalism at COC

Journalists Bob Woodward (right) and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. (Photo courtesy of The Associated Press)

Journalists Bob Woodward (right) and Carl Bernstein of the Washington Post. (Photo courtesy of The Associated Press)

On Sept. 25, a representative from the coalition to save the Canyon Call met with College of the Canyons Media Entertainment Arts Department Chair David Brill to discuss the formation of MEA and the recently accepted proposal for an Associate in Arts Degree in New Media Journalism.

Brill provided a list of the 12 general courses and three electives that can be taken in various combinations to fulfill the 26.5 units required under the major. Here are the 12 general courses:

MEA 110 — Writing for Journalism and New Media (3.0 units)

MEA 111 — Exploring Video Field Production (2.0 units)

MEA 112 — Exploring Video Studio Production (2.0 units)

MEA 113 — Exploring Online Media Communication (2.0 units)

MEA 116 — Digital Video Editing I (2.0 units)

MEA 119 — Announcing and Media Performance (2.0 units)

MEA 120 — Introduction to Cinematography I (2.0 units)

MEA 125 — News Reporting and Anchoring (3.0 units)

MEA 100 — Mass Media Communications (3.0 units)

MEA 103 — Exploring Contemporary Television (3.0 units)

COMS 105 — Fundamentals of Public Speaking (3.0 units)

MEA 225 — Advanced News Media Production (3.0 units)

Brill said that Media Entertainment Arts “was formed to meet the challenges of the times.” It’s clear the degree program places strong emphasis on broadcast and should go a long way toward preparing students for a career in that industry. Brill should be commended for his hard work in this regard.

However, the coalition feels that without journalism classes that specifically support a printed campus newspaper like the Canyon Call, there is insufficient classroom emphasis placed on the fundamentals of journalism in the New Media Journalism degree program. More to the point, the Student Learning Outcomes do not meet established standards of journalism.

With the exception of MEA 110 (Writing for Journalism and New Media) and possibly MEA 225 (Advanced News Media Production), the overall degree program represents a “watering down” of journalism and does not provide enough of what journalism students need to know to succeed outside of the college. The emphasis on writing and copyediting in the classroom is simply insufficient.

Saving the Canyon Call really amounts to saving journalism at COC. This is the core reason behind the formation of this coalition and the creation of this web site. The transition to Media Entertainment Arts, while well intended, does not appear to offer journalism students enough basics of the trade.

That’s a big problem for the college, its administrators and especially its students.

Number of days COC has been without a school newspaper: 36