University of Connecticut Journalism Students
Jeffrey Ogbar, Dean CLAS
Associate Dean Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar
Dear Dr. Ogbar:
On behalf of the students from the University of Connecticut’s Journalism Department, I would like to voice concerns regarding the dismal and, frankly, embarrassing state of our department. Journalism is one of the most important professions that exists within a Democratic State. When our founding fathers wrote the constitution, the only profession explicitly recognized in the Bill of Rights was “freedom of the press.” Can you imagine a world without a responsible media? With the lack of resources, equipment and adequate workstations our department is plagued with, it is no wonder the future of this noble and important profession is said to be at stake.
If UConn is a top university, we at the School of Journalism should have access to state-of-the-art resources like students at NYU, Columbia, and the University of Missouri. Though we are fortunate to have professors who have worked at top news industries both nationally and locally and who show some interest in the futures of every student, there is much room for improvement. Attending UConn is a major investment for every student and for us in the journalism department it is the biggest investment of our lives. For most, if not all, there is no other profession we could possibly imagine ourselves doing other than reporting the news. Since UConn, as advertised by the school, is the only public university offering “a nationally accredited journalism program in New England” this is all the more reason why the department should be top-notch, with state-of the-art equipment including a studio for broadcast packages, and reasonable hours of operation that can accommodate the large amounts of training hours needed to compete in this cut-throat profession.
These last few weeks in the fall 2010 semester have magnified how much improvements are needed in the journalism department. With students having to share an inadequate lab, with only eight computers, only open for limited hours, getting final projects done and perfected was impossible. There is no reason why at a school with the size and level of esteem at which UConn portrays itself, should not have a better journalism department. As UConn so accurately points out on the UConn journalism website; this is the only department within the college of liberal arts and sciences that prepares students for a particular career. Our professors have done a wonderful job instilling the spirit of public service and truth which are staples of our profession ;but as time changes so does the profession. Programs like Dream Weaver, Photoshop, Indesign and Final Cut- among others- students need to master in order to meet the demands of today’s journalism profession are costly and not readily available at the Homer Babbdige Library for students to work after hours. Professors have to shuffle classes and swap classrooms in order to give students working on multi-media projects time to finish.
The professors, staff and students at the UConn School of journalism demand much of themselves and naturally we, the students, demand the respect of the university. By offering Connecticut residents the option of a public education you’ve made a commitment to supplying those students who attend your university the highest level of education and preparedness for the real world. Journalists have an obligation to fulfill for the public they serve and it’s this public university’s obligation to produce journalists with the highest standard of professional integrity. In order to do this the university must remain vigilant in meeting the needs of this departments. This means giving journalists the tools be the best professions they can be and to reach a public that they and the university mutually serve. We are fully aware of and understand that the school is pressed financially, but reallocation of funds would serve us well. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to hear us out. We hope to see many changes within the department.
The students from UConn’s Journalism Department