A UVM journalism program? It just might happen.
Probably I’ll need to change the tagline to this blog, which came into existence a decade ago with the subtitle:
the UVM J-blog: when you realize that the University of Vermont has no journalism program
As local alt-weekly Seven Days reports in its most recent issue, the University of Vermont is indeed moving toward creating a journalism major. A committee began meeting last summer and, though we didn’t make any public announcement about the effort, members of UVM’s media organizations have been providing advice from the beginning. So have alumni, who we brought together into a Listserv to provide advice for an undertaking that we hope will improve the academic experience for UVM students who say they want a journalism major—and there appear to be a lot of them. As adviser to The Vermont Cynic, I regularly hear from students who want to enter the journalism field and want UVM to offer a program—forward-thinking and multimedia—to meet their needs.
For those of you who know the Cynic well, there’s been one overriding sentiment: Make it good, but make sure the Cynic stays independent. I’ve heard this from both students and alumni in commentary spiked with a tinge of anxiety. For many Cynics, the best part of the UVM journalism experience has been the ability to chart their own course, to design a student-run, working newsroom without university oversight.
The university currently offers academic credits to students who work on the Cynic and on-campus TV and radio stations. “We’ll continue to give students space to develop their skills in real-world situations — a working newsroom, TV station or radio station — where students set the agenda,” Evans said. “The only difference would be that many students in the journalism major might have more formal training before they walk into student media offices.”