Journalism Course Options At MDC Lacks Punch

Illustration by Alexander Ontiveros.

There is a lot of improvement that needs to be made when it comes to elective classes at Miami Dade College. The College offers four journalism courses: basic reporting (JOU 1100), journalism internship (JOU 1946), co-op work experience (JOU 1949), and editing and makeup (JOU 2200), two of which are not even lecture courses.

As a mass communications/journalism major, I am unsure of what route I want to take in the vast umbrella that is the journalism field. I wish the College had more diverse electives that could guide me. 

I understand that this is a pathway program and that I will have more classes related to my major when I transfer to a four-year institution. Still, why should I have to wait two years to definitively decide if this is what I want?

“The schools of journalism at the upper division level have a limit on the number of transfer credits they will accept in skills courses, like journalism. That limit traditionally is nine or 12 credits depending on the university. So if students were to take more than nine or 12 credits in JOU here, some of those credits won’t be valid at the upper division,” said Merwin Sigale, a journalism professor at Kendall Campus. “We are teaching the basics and preparing students interested in journalism for their upper division courses. So that is the reason why we as a community college are not competing for students against the four year universities and their journalism programs.”

Although Sigale’s response gives insight, I still struggle with the lack of JOU classes offered at MDC. I could spend my whole life thinking I want to work on the radio, but how can I be sure? I could seek an internship but how many radio stations are actively seeking interns? Not many. By providing classes for a variety of branches within journalism, students could gain experience and insight in specific sectors.

Community colleges all across the country offer diverse journalism courses. As the nation’s largest and most inclusive institution of higher education, MDC is falling behind in this area.

Sacramento City College offers a course, Style for Writers, that provides a review of English grammar for students who want careers in mass media. They review basic grammar, spelling, punctuation, and Associated Press style, focusing on its use in online and print media. SCC also offers Writing for Podcasting/Broadcasting, which covers the technique of writing for the broadcast media and includes reporting for radio and television news, as well as online media, writing commercials, and public service programming. 

De Anza College in Cupertino, California offers Feature Writing and Reporting. The course allows students to learn the basics on feature writing for newspapers, magazines, and other media with practice in profile, human interest, enterprise news, and opinion features.

As Sigale expressed, there are good reasons for the lack of journalism classes at MDC. However, the College could add classes that are held once a year to see how many students register or show interest. If the classes were available, I am certain students would jump at the opportunity.