By Jack Bratich

Jack Bratich. Photo supplied by Jack Bratich

Jack Bratich. Photo supplied by Jack Bratich

Chair, Dept. of Journalism and Media Studies

Greetings, Alums!

As I wind down my second year as department chair, I want to let you know about the many exciting changes afoot.

First and foremost, I’m thrilled to announce that Phil Napoli joined the department as full professor in January 2014. Dr. Napoli comes to us from Fordham University, specializing  in Media Business, Policy, and Audience Studies. Phil was a faculty member in the Communications Department in the late 1990s, so some of you might have even taken a course from him!

Our Women, Media and Technology Initiative is moving along well. In partnership with the Institute for Women’s Leadership, we co-sponsored a number of spring public events: the amazing Gloria Steinem Lecture, a screening of the documentary “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” (along with discussion with the researcher and producer), and a symposium on Social Media and PsychoSocial WellBeing.

In addition, we have created a joint summer internship program for J/MS and Women and Gender Studies majors who are interested in working for media organizations devoted to the advancement of women and representation in the public sphere.

We also hosted a superb set of distinguished speakers from the profession.  Lincoln Caplan, Todd Brewster, and Richard Reeves all brought their experience and wisdom to campus to discuss the future of journalism. We were truly enriched by their insights. gavel

As I have noted in previous Letters from the Chair, the department is undergoing significant curricular reform. We are examining how our courses and pathways need updating in order to respond to (and predict) changing contexts. What are the fundamental courses that students need to succeed in this world? How do we preserve the foundational values and virtues of journalism amidst these rapid transformations? These are the questions guiding curricular reform. Expect some new exciting announcements by this time next year.

On a related but more pertinent note, as our times change, so do the media platforms that reach us. With this in mind, I want to announce that this issue of Alum-Knights will be the final one of this form. We are proud of what Alum-Knights as a semiannual newspaper has done for over 20 years.

Under the capable leadership of Ron Miskoff and Elizabeth Fuerst over its most recent era, it has kept our alumni informed about current student accomplishments, faculty activi­ties, and each other’s lives. It has also given students indispensible experience working together with current technology to produce a quality publication.

Those dimensions of Alum-Knights will not go away. We will still be reaching you with all the latest info about J/MS events as well as teaching students to collaborate in an intensive setting. The depart­ment has been exploring alternative ways to bring you all of this while recognizing the new environment and new media needs.

We will be turning Alum-Knights into an annual publication, available after each spring semester. We are still working on the details of what exactly it will look like, but I can assure you it will be worth the wait!

We are looking to make RU J/MS even more of a central hub for student media in the region. With your continued support, we can make this a reality!