Journalism, Oh where art thou


Erron Thomas, Staff Writer

The University of New Orleans is a reasonably big campus. Within these 195 acres come a vast list of majors, and minors, and concentrations. There truly is something somewhere for everyone here — unless that someone is looking to be a journalist of sorts.


Unfortunately, the University doesn’t offer a paved out Journalism major. Yet, you can argue that they provide the next best thing: a concentration.


MFA Associate Chair Reggie J. Poche explained why the major does not exist.


“Here at UNO, we find that some of our students who are interested in the journalism field, while interested, don’t necessarily know exactly what they want to do in that field. Therefore we designed a curriculum that bridges that gap, so to speak.”


The curriculum offered to Privateers interested in journalism is a Journalism concentration. Those in the Department of English saw fit to morph journalism into a professional writing course as well.


The university’s reasoning for not having a full-fledged course and combining both professional writing and journalism is to give students exposure to different types of writing. Because they are being exposed to various aspects of journalism, they are better equipped to make a more informed decision as it relates to their career. This helps students who know they want to be in the journalism field but aren’t too keen on what aspect they want to pursue.


Moreover, it is not necessarily that the university can’t afford the major. “We don’t see much of a demand for it,” remarks Poche. It is unsettling to understand that the university has the money to fund a journalism program, but is just holding out on its students. They are aware that some students are extremely interested in a journalism major but are not sure what aspect to pursue. The University offers students a valuable alternative — the opportunity to gain knowledge relating to all aspects of the desired field.


While the academic departments within the university may have their finger on the pulse of the campus, they may need to readjust their finger positioning. Why? There are undoubtedly students who are interested in pursuing the field. 


“if you are a go-getter and you have the tenacity, then the paved out major isn’t necessarily pertinent to finding success in that career.” Says Poche.  Although students may have the determination and the fire and motivation to make a name for themselves in their career, plenty of students’ anxiety and pressure relating to the situation would dissipate if they didn’t necessarily have to do the heavy lifting. If they were just offered a major, a student wouldn’t have to worry about getting out there. The pressure of finding your way into the career becomes lessened. 


However, the university is also keen on the real-world experience that Poche emphasized, which is why a three-hour internship with Driftwood is part of the course requirement. Ultimately, working for a college newspaper can give you the newsroom, interview and story-searching experience necessary to get into the career.