Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No journalists from Kansas

Last week, as I sat nearly comatose in a waiting (and waiting) room, I rifled through a stack of weeks-old magazines. Brides--no thanks. Golf Digest--bleh. I finally found a tattered Newsweek and flipped it open. Inside was short article about the Kansas Department of Education cutting all funding for high school journalism classes.

"Earlier this month, the state’s Department of Education decided to stop funding high-school instruction in the subject. Schools are free to raise their own money, but that’s not a path officials would recommend."

Um, what? How is this not all over the news? It seems the Sunflower State has deemed journalism a "dying industry unfit for public funds." Maybe they are partly right: headlines about the profitability of newspapers and magazines aren't exactly full of good cheer. But won't we always need professional journalists to report accurate information? Or are we okay with relying on bloggers to tell us what's going on? (For heaven's sake, don't rely on ME.)

Disclosure: I was a journalism dork in high school, and although I went into advertising instead of reporting the news, my experience on the yearbook and newspaper staff helped me define myself. I was a writer. My words made it into print. Peers read my articles, and commented. Journalism was the one class that made the biggest impact on me; I'm a news junkie to this day. Two of my fellow editors *did* go onto J-school at MU and make their living as journalists even now.

I get that money is tight and institutions are pressured to cut where they can. Believe me, I sit on the board of a non-profit and witness good programs getting axed. It stinks. However, I'm guessing they still have plenty of bucks lying around for their football team and other sports programs. And wow, I can see how *that* is a booming industry for most graduates. I mean, really, if I had a dime for every professional football player who came from my high school, why, I'd dimes.

Priorities, though, right?


Jaleh D said...

At our high school, they never threatened to cut the writing related courses, just the music and drama ones. Though once the former Head of Athletics became the new principal that stopped; he was a huge supporter of the music program, and by extension, of the drama one as well. (Our pep band got told to stop playing at a basketball game my junior year, because our team wanted their canned music instead. After personally chewing them out, Mr. M, who was still just the athletic director at that point, came to our director and asked us to come back.)

WendyCinNYC said...

Yes, drama and music are always on the block, it seems. I don't have a problem with sports (both my kids play on teams) but I don't love it when it's a sacred cow while academic classes get cut.

Allie said...

Wow. That's really awful! I can't see how it makes any sense to cut a program that teaches students how to communicate and how to understand and process the news they read/see. Geez!

yui said...

I'm looking forward to the next update.

Anonymous said...


well since the grammar and reading is so irrelevant in today's society, who needs to focus on journalism.

perhaps they will find some funding for classes on texting.