"This is a really exciting time to be going into journalism, to be looking into it as a future career area, partly because there is so much change. That means there is a lot of crisis out there but crisis brings opportunity. So I think news organizations and other organizations are more open than they ever have been to listen to young people. You have the potential to make a difference," says Peggy Kuhr, dean of the University of Montana School of Journalism.
The School of Journalism examines the news media, emphasizing their history, privileges and responsibilities, and it provides instruction in skills required for careers with newspapers, radio and television stations, other digital media operations, magazines, news services and communications operations. About one-third of the work for the B.A. in Journalism or Radio-Television is taken in the School of Journalism (see our course list). The remaining credits required for graduation provide a background in the liberal arts, stressing history, government, economics, philosophy, literature, foreign language, psychology and sociology.
Newsrooms today are changing and so is the curriculum at the School of Journalism. As news media outlets evolve, overlap and create new opportunities for news delivery, we're evolving, too.
"It's really to position ourselves so that we can reflect and anticipate these changes, whatever they are, in the news media," Kuhr says of the journalism program at UM. "The ideal is more flexibility and more preparedness for the real world. It's about getting ready for a world that’s changing so much that, by the time you leave school, you will still be prepared, even though the media landscape might be different than it is now."
Aside from a flexible approach to getting the skills that fuel your journalistic passions, the program offers professonal expertise and feedback. Each full-time faculty member has at least 10 years of practical experience in journalism and works closely with students in and out of the classroom. Most class sizes are capped at no more than 20 students to maintain a personal setting and tight-knit community within the school. And, for students learning a profession, there will be no lack of hands-on opportunities.
"It's a place that's personal and challenging at the same time," says Professor Ray Ekness. From smaller classrooms and close relationships with professors, to the opportunity of producing content that is seen in the community, UM’s School of Journalism is getting its students right into news coverage.
"You can take a little bit of everything, you can take online, take photo; you can work on traditional print class or broadcast class," says Ekness. "You can put your toe in each of the lakes until you find one that feels good, and then you can jump into that wholeheartedly."