Mass Media Journalism-what it is and what it does

John Parsons, Columnist

Mass Media Journalism includes The East Texan newspaper, the Special magazine, KKOM radio, public relations, television/film studies and advertising.

It is in the literature and languages department of the College of Humanities, Social Sciences and Arts.

The program provides far greater returns than it costs.

There are six faculty positions-four of which are currently filled. Three professors teach the radio, television and film courses. The program is missing a journalism professor and an advertising/public relations professor. The remaining journalism professor will be retiring in December.

As a result of these shortages, some courses listed in the catalog do not get offered. Some classes, especially upper division ones, either do not make or are underfilled due to low student enrollment. The lack of course offerings represents an unfulfilled promise by the university.

Student publications are funded by the student activities fund. The budget has been cut to approximately half of the previous year’s budget for each of the last two years, at least. These budget cuts have resulted in fewer issues of the student newspaper, the student magazine going unprinted and an indefinite hiatus for the award-winning Lions After Dark radio program.

Student publications need a budget that can provide the equipment, software and student employees to support the university. This budget needs to be sustained every year plus provide for increases in the cost of expenses. The budget should be made at least one year in advance.

The program produces graduates who are capable of earning a living as reputable journalists. This is important as those graduates then go to news outlets around the country and promote Texas A&M University-Commerce.

The East Texan is the only newspaper published in Commerce. It represents the university to not only people on campus but in the community and to prospective students in the university’s recruiting region.

The lack of funding and support for the program affects more than just journalism students.

This university should effectively own its recruiting region. Every high school student and college transfer should first think of attending A&M-Commerce. They should know that this university is their home school. This goal is achievable by supporting the mass media journalism program.

The East Texan should be published weekly and the Special should be published monthly.

There needs to be enough papers and magazines printed for the university to distribute on campus, locally, news outlets and every high school and college in the region.

This level of activity will enhance the university’s stature in regional, state and national rankings. Graduates of every college will benefit when hiring managers have heard of TAMUC and its outstanding reputation.

The boost in status can happen by the university supporting an outstanding journalism program.

Faculty need to be hired and retained who have the required academic credentials to teach the courses shown in the undergraduate catalog and professional experience to draw on while teaching.

The university; administrators, college deans, faculty, staff, students and members of student organizations all benefit by having a robust and well-funded journalism program.

The university can actively support student publications by including [email protected] in announcements. These announcements can include people being hired or promoted, receiving grants, getting published, events, etc.

A journalism student will then contact you to arrange for an interview with the appropriate person.

Support should include reserved seating at events and calling on the reporter covering an event for the first question.

And, the best thing of all, this support is FREE!