Monday, November 19, 2007

Medill J-school alumni protest changes

Alumni of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism have sent a petition and letter to the university protesting recent changes in the curriculum, according to a post on the Chicago Reader's News Bites blog.

The alumni wrote that they were particularly concerned about the way changes have been implemented at the school by Dean John Lavine.

"Because faculty governance has been suspended, Dean Lavine has been making changes unilaterally or with staff members that support him indiscriminately. Those who have expressed dissent have been demoted or forced out."

The petition, signed by more than 75 alumni, was delivered to the university’s Board of Trustees and provost.

A 2006 Columbia Journalism Review article about Lavine quoted him as saying he planned to "blow up" the school's curriculum. The new 2020 Curricula, which was unveiled in August, puts increased emphasis on integrated marketing communications, new technology and "audience understanding."

The alumni also objected to changes in the school's Washington program, which allowed students to work as Washington, DC correspondents for specific publications. "The changes to the program will not only damage the quality of the Washington reporting experience, but it will also hurt student job prospects," said the letter, signed by Camille Gerwin, who earn her MSJ in 2004, and Andrew Bossone, graduated from the program in 2005.

You can read questions and responses about the J-school's new curricula on the school's Web site.

What do you think of Northwestern's new curricula -- is it a vision for the future or does it sacrifice old-fashioned journalistic values? Post a comment.

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