A school of journalism would benefit UMKC

Kharissa Forte

Why doesn’t UMKC have a School of Journalism?

There are an abundance of reasons why we should.

For starters, we have an impeccable group of professors who are more than happy and capable to groom tomorrow’s successful journalists.

As a member of the UM system, we have the connections with the Missouri School of Journalism on the Columbia campus, and there is reason to believe UMKC could have a premiere program without detracting from MU’s, but building off its success. The Cross Cultural Journalism and Mass Media course, for instance, is conducted with both MU and UMKC students via video transmit.

 As Chancellor Leo Morton has said, “we are Kansas City’s university.”

The potential relationships between UMKC and different news organizations and media businesses through a journalism school would benefit both UMKC, the local community and students.

I could spend all day listing the names of various UMKC professors who are now using their skills and experience to prepare students for practical journalism.

Jon Rand, who teaches Introduction to Reporting, is a great lecturer. So was Cynthia Newsome, a weekend anchor for KSHB 41 Action News who taught Broadcast Management here during the 2010-’11 school year.

Peter Morello is one of the nation’s most well-versed journalists and has a respectable reputation in Europe as well.

Morello has, according to his online biography on the Communications Studies Department website,

“spent 14 years in Europe as a producer and special correspondent for the PBS program European Journal.  He covered the emerging democracies of eastern and central Europe, the breakup of the Soviet Union, war in Bosnia and famine relief efforts in Somalia.”

He worked for CBS and KCPT and has won several awards for his documentaries.

The best part: Peter Morello is a professor right here at UMKC.

Dr. Robert Unger is also an award-winning journalist.

He worked for The Kansas City Star as a national correspondent and for the Chicago Tribune as an investigative reporter and columnist.

His articles have covered 47 states and 14 countries. Most impressively, he “won a staff-shared Pulitzer Prize and the National Press Club’s Award for Diplomatic Correspondence.”

Unger is most well-known for his book “The Union Station Massacre: The Original Sin of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI,” published in 1997.

Guess what? Robert Unger is a professor right here at UMKC, too.

Perhaps instead of fretting over the frivolous idea of changing our name that was finally dropped last week, we should shift our focus to a substantial change that could achieve the goals the name change proposal set out to accomplish.

In the Oct. 1 issue of U-News, I asked Chancellor Morton what he believed would be accomplished by changing our name.

He said, “I believe we can strengthen our enrollment, our community partnerships and our philanthropic support by creating a broader and deeper understanding of our critical role as Kansas City’s university.”

If UMKC developed a School of Journalism, the University would strengthen its enrollment, community partnerships and philanthropic support. A school of journalism could be an effective strategy to achieving the goals as outlined by the Chancellor.

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