Journalism program overlooks upperclassmen

The journalism program at St. John’s has been growing steadily for the past few years as more students declare journalism as their major.

A look at a list of course offerings for Fall 2007 for the journalism program shows that there will be three Introduction to Journalism classes and four Newswriting I classes. For students just starting the program, this is welcome news as it means they have more options.

But what about the students already in the program? What about the ones who were journalism majors before the big rush of new students?

Unfortunately they do not have the luxury of choosing from a group of three or four classes. Only one selection is offered for many classes such as Photojournalism, Press and Government, Writing for Business, and Ethics and Law of Journalism.

Some of these classes have only 15 seats available, a low ceiling that will undoubtedly leave many registering for their second and third scheduling choices.

It would be better if the students entering their third or fourth years in the journalism program had more classes to pick from, not just so they can have a chance of getting a seat but also a chance of attending the class at a reasonable time of day.

Many classes are either from 7:30 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. or from 6:50 p.m. to 9:40 p.m.

If a journalism student had two classes, with one being at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other one at 6:50 p.m., what is the student expected to do for the rest of the day?

This also brings to light another problem with the class scheduling. If a student lives on campus, getting to a class on time should not be a problem considering the short commute.

But what are the students who do not have this luxury of living on campus, or even somewhere relatively close to campus, supposed to do?

A student commuting from the outer boroughs like the Bronx or Brooklyn via public transit would likely have to be out of their home at 5:00 a.m. just to get a chance to get to class barely on time. Maybe a shanty-town can be established on the Great Lawn for journalism students who can no longer tolerate their long, arduous commutes before sunrise.

If SJU is acknowledging the growth of the journalism program by fulfilling the needs of first- and second-year students, they should also take strides to acknowledge the needs of third- and fourth-year students by making classes either more available so students can have a better chance of getting into the class they want, having more seats available, or have classes during a more manageable time of day that does not require waking up ridiculously early or going home extremely late.

With registration for classes already here for upperclassmen, making a schedule has become a delicate exercise in trying to fit triangular blocks in a series of holes shaped like squares.
But for the sake of all the new students in the journalism program today and in the future, let us just hope that they will continue to have a plethora of classes to choose from.