Today, we propose that the College work to integrate a new field of study?journalism?into its curriculum. We propose this field of study to improve students' ability to understand and interpret the world around them.
For the rest of their lives, students' impressions of politics, society, science, and history will be shaped by newspaper pages and news broadcasts. Yet so many of these sources currently neglect to serve today's citizens, with media owners opting for entertainment and sensation over context and importance. Students who think about journalism in an academic manner will be better able to demand the quality reporting necessary to understand their world and their lives on a daily basis. A major study by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation earlier this year even showed that students who study journalism have a higher appreciation for and knowledge of civil rights.
Some liberal arts purists may gasp at the mere suggestion of a journalism curriculum at Bowdoin. But they shouldn't. An interdisciplinary approach to the study of journalism?rather than a professional one?would be completely consistent with Bowdoin's liberal arts tradition. A journalism program at Bowdoin could be modeled after the Africana studies program, which consists mostly of courses cross-listed in departments such as history, sociology, and English. A few existing Bowdoin courses would already fit into such a program, but these offerings should be expanded to establish a more complete curriculum.
The purpose of a journalism program would not be to train professional journalists. Rather, it would teach students how to understand and interact with the immediate history of their world; these skills can be so powerful and can be such a force for change. We fail to see how such a program would do anything but promote the common good.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board consists of the editors-in-chief and the managing editor.