And now, for some troubling news from down the road in Richmond: according to the Herald-Leader, Eastern Kentucky University is considering dropping French, journalism, theater, horticulture, and geography majors and minors from its curriculum. Facing statewide budget cuts, EKU is being forced to evaluate which majors and minors are worth keeping, and based on statistics, a subcommittee recommended those five for suspension. The final recommendations will go to the Faculty Senate next month and be voted on by the Board of Regents in December.
It is worth noting that even if these majors and minors go away, there will still be classes offered in most, if not all, of the subjects. As the Herald-Leader notes, if French gets cut, French 101 and 102 will still be offered, as would a degree in World Languages. What about journalism? EKU faculty member Richard Day, who serves on the subcommittee, says the school is trying to find ways to make the journalism program less of a “traditional print media major” (AKA dying industry) and more of a “a 21st century digital major” (AKA what you’re reading right now).
As a former English major who grew up idolizing newspaper columnists and was able to get her dream job without a journalism degree, I have mixed feelings on the demise of the printing industry. Even as a high school senior fourteen years ago, I was warned not to go into journalism, but felt the pull of it from afar, even applying for a job at The Tennessean, Nashville’s daily newspaper, after college; however, being rejected turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A few years later, I started putting my stuff out in the blogosphere, and now, here I am. Of the four main writers on this site, three of us don’t have journalism degrees, and I’d say our product is better off for it.
All of that being said, it would be sad to see the EKU Journalism program take a hit like this, as I’m sure it’s guided and ushered several great writers into the business. If you missed it, a few weeks back, John Oliver had an excellent take on what’s going on in the industry…which reminds me, I probably need to come up with a catchier title to this post.