Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

OPINION: If my industry died, why is my school offering it?

Courtesy of the Moakley Archives Institute
Students hanging out in The Suffolk Journal Office, 1978.

I’m a journalism major. I have a lot of classes with media professionals who’ve been around a long time.

I can’t go to a class without hearing from them about how good the industry was and how far it’s fallen, and I’m sick of it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love these professors to death and have a lot of respect for them. It’s just very disheartening to hear how far my industry has fallen since when they were working in its heyday.

I’m sick of hearing how it used to be. I don’t want to hear that when I’m paying $50,000 a year to learn about journalism. I want to start hearing “This is how it is…”

I understand the importance of telling us about the traditional way my industry operated and I get those days are over. However, I’m tired of hearing professors telling us about their glory days in a way that makes it seem like there is no hope when I graduate and all I’ve paid for were classes on learning how things would’ve been good 30 years ago if I was in school then.

The Suffolk Communication, Journalism and Media department also seems to miss the mark on students’ interests. How does a journalism school in a sports mecca like Boston not offer sports journalism classes, especially when a lot of students have shown a keen interest in sports journalism. How is there no partnership between Suffolk athletics and CJN to create opportunities for students interested in sports journalism and broadcasting like other schools in the area, even one of similar size to Suffolk like Emerson College?

Every time I register for classes I am dumbfounded. There never seems to be any classes that fit my interests and career goals.

I’m a print/web journalism major, which I chose because a lot of my goals are in the print space.

However, it doesn’t seem like Suffolk University is offering anything I need to succeed. I always wonder where some of the more niche and higher level classes are when I look at the course listings.

For instance, I am a pretty accomplished photojournalist, I’ve won awards for my work and been featured in professional publications in the area. However, the only class available to me currently in that field is an intro level class when, in the past, Suffolk offered classes as high as advanced photo journalism, which are now long gone.

I’m tired of being disheartened by what I hear as a junior with some experience and I can only imagine how it must feel for a freshman student taking an intro class and hearing how good the industry was when their professors were their age and how dead it is now.

This is how ambition dies. If you keep telling me things have fallen apart, why should I think there will be anything there for me when it’s my turn to look for opportunities?

I understand Suffolk CJN is a small department, where many of the professors have overloaded schedules, and that the adjuncts can only take on so much but sometimes I wonder how well admins have their pulse on what students want. 

I always feel like the department has little to offer in terms of classes that will peak my interest inside of the classroom, to the point where I even ask why the school even bothers offering my major, especially when professors are preaching how little opportunities the modern journalism landscape has.

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About the Contributor
James Bartlett, Multimedia Editor | he/him
James Bartlett is a senior studying print and web journalism. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, James has a strong interest in photojournalism and new journalism tools such as podcasting and user-generated content. James is currently a Web Journalist at WHDH Channel 7 and has previously worked at and the Newburpoty Daily News. Follow James on Twitter @James_bartlett8 Email him at [email protected]

Comments (5)

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  • M

    Mark MicheliFeb 13, 2022 at 10:56 pm

    I was a journalism major at Suffolk in the late ‘70s and now teach part-time at Emerson. I never tell students that the industry is dead because it’s not. In fact, the web has created more opportunity. Sadly most journalists are scared and/or threatened by technology. The industry was broadsided by the web and very slow to react. I began working as an online journalist at an experimental division of AT&T in 1995 and when I started work at in 2003, the print side at the Globe still had no interest in online journalism. The industry is poised to be blindsided again when and if the next big paradigm shift happens with virtual reality and augmented reality. My advice to you is to embrace new technology. It’s a challenging time to be a journalist but it’s an exciting time. Your generation has an opportunity to reshape storytelling.

  • R

    Rick SaiaFeb 13, 2022 at 9:09 pm

    That’s specific *line* of work. (Editor, heal thyself! 🙂 )

  • R

    Rick SaiaFeb 13, 2022 at 7:28 pm

    Good points! As a practicing journalist until a few years ago (I teach high school English today.) I have witnessed many changes in the industry over the last 25 years, sone of which the industry was slow to embrace. That led to changes in business models and lower revenues, which led to lots of job cuts. I learned a lot as a Suffolk journalism major back in the ‘70s (I know the two people in the picture. ) yet I agree that any education program that prepares students for a specific live of work has to be contemporary with the methods of getting the work done, with both eyes focused on the present and future.

    • S

      Sue PetersonFeb 13, 2022 at 8:39 pm

      Yes there are numb nuts in academia, but give them some credit for showing up. It’s a mad mad world. If anything print quality journalism is stronger than ever, just not in papers.

      So start your own tweety sufo sports report or cramm or something and get off the pot. You have a billion or so outlets for sports now as opposed to then. Just make your way.

      FYI, after taking the few really good classes in J, I switched to English as a major.
      More what I liked and the smuffolk urinal was a much better learning lab than classes. Took miracle photos, got attacked by creepy student gov types, found a trustee running from a mob of protesters to a taxi (won a nice prize for that. Poor Mr. Fulmer.) And wrote some great features and news and in general had a blast.
      To this day I know bullshit when I hear it, I really know how to look things up in a library, and I enjoy skating around the idiots on my own path.

      Taint bad. Plus I moved to California.
      Hugs, Sue Peterson, English ’80.

      • S

        Sue PetersonFeb 13, 2022 at 10:07 pm

        FYI in the photo are Jay Bosworth, Sue Peterson and Sports Mogul Bob DiBella.

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OPINION: If my industry died, why is my school offering it?