One of a number of historic changes made in Queens College over the past semester is the closing of the Journalism program, which has made it increasingly difficult for students to have a collective voice on campus. Many students and faculty members impacted by the change have banded together to preserve the last of the Journalism clubs in QC by combining the efforts of a number of writing groups on campus.
Up until the end of the Spring 2020 semester, QC’s Urban Studies Department offered an 18 credit Journalism minor. This program provided students with the opportunity to keep up with the ever-evolving technical skills necessary to pursue a successful career in Journalism, as well as the resources with which to hone their verbal and written communication skills. Offered courses included News Reporting and Writing, News Editing, and Broadcast Journalism.
Journalism careers are widely acknowledged to be competitive, and having completed a minor in the subject could easily be a deciding factor for employment in the field. However, the Queens College Journalism program is closed for the foreseeable future, meaning that QC students no longer have the opportunity to study this discipline. Students currently in the midst of a Journalism minor have been left scrambling to finish the program in whatever way they can. Those who are near completion have been told to search for writing courses that could work to fulfill their remaining requirements. Others who still have a while to go must drop the minor altogether.
In addition to this harsh development for QC Journalism, QC Voices, a Queens College publication that serves as a platform for students to write about a wide variety of topics, has been disbanded for the next academic year due to a lack of funding. This arguably leaves the majority of the responsibility of providing students with the opportunity to pursue Journalism on campus to The Knight News.
“Though resources are scarce, and the Journalism department is gone, I feel an obligation to make sure QC students know that The Knight News is present and welcoming to students looking to get involved with Journalism,” said Sidd Malviya, the Editor in Chief for The Knight News. “We are all about reporting in an honest, informative manner, and I’m actively working with my team to get the word out that students of any major or class standing are welcome to write for The Knight News.”
Despite the current lack of Journalism resources available in QC, there is still hope for a revival. The English Department has spent the last two years working on creating a writing minor which they intend to propose to the academic senate this coming September. Such a program could eventually come to include more Journalism courses. However, since Professor Sheryl McCarthy, the director and last full-time faculty member of the Journalism department, retired this year, there has been no one available to teach such courses.
Meanwhile, the English Department is doing its best to support The Knight News. It has officially become the newspaper’s sponsored department and Professor Jason Tougaw, who previously oversaw QC Voices, will be the new faculty advisor for The Knight News. These changes are considered acts of solidarity among the writing clubs of Queens College as the efforts behind QC Voices and The Knight News will be partnering in light of budget and department cuts in order to keep the spirit of Journalism alive on campus.
“Is Journalism dead in Queens College? I think it’s up to The Knight News to decide,” said Professor Karen Weingarten, outgoing Chair of the English Department. “I’ve been reading The Knight News more than I ever have in my 15 years at Queens College. I think the current editors are doing a great job disseminating information and circulating it and I encourage them to keep doing that.”
In the microcosm of a university, student-run Journalism plays a significant role in promoting student opinions and rights as well as keeping the student body informed as to decisions that will greatly impact their education and future. The Knight News regularly covers topics relevant to QC students and strives to fulfill their goal and “…serve the Queens College community through a tireless pursuit for truths that may be hidden, obstructed or otherwise unknown.”
Students interested in joining The Knight News as writers or editors are encouraged to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.