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Paly to open alternative pathways to its journalism programs, publications

Ken Ogata/The Campanile

In an effort to open the program up to more freshmen, journalism teachers are encouraging rising 9th graders to sign up for a semester of Photojournalism and a semester of Introduction to Broadcast. This combination of classes will include enough of the Beginning Journalism curriculum to serve as the prerequisite to allow next year’s freshmen to join any publication their sophomore year.

Students will be able to join the Broadcast Journalism and Radio Broadcasting publications (InFocus and KPLY) after taking the Introduction to Broadcast course, according to journalism adviser Paul Kandell. Kandell said students who take Photojournalism will also be able to join publications as photographers starting in sophomore year.

This change in Paly’s journalism pathways is also partially due to the increased awareness of the lack of diversity in current publications, Kandell said.

“We’ll be able to provide this opportunity to a larger set of students who might not have thought about journalism before,” Kandell said. “In a push from the staff, the whole faculty has been engaged in work to think about our programs in terms of inclusion and access.”

Kandell said the changes should help InFocus in particular, which traditionally has a smaller class than the other publications.

“We are expecting and hoping that this will provide a shot in the arm for InFocus,” Kandell said. “This will be a great way to allow (InFocus adviser) Mr. Satterthwaite to teach the younger group without interruption and stabilize that enrollment.”

Kandell said he anticipates Photojournalism becoming a dedicated platform to focus on the visual arts of journalism, and journalism adviser Brian Wilson agrees.

“Not everyone who joins a publication necessarily joined it because they want to be a print reporter, so this provides them with another opportunity to be part of the program and not necessarily have it be specifically through the Beginning Journalism program,” Wilson said.

Wilson said this new plan also takes into account balanced enrollment in journalism.

“We always want to make sure that we have a healthy flow of journalists into the publications, which is a little tricky because the program is so big, and we have a whole bunch of publications to feed,” Wilson said.

Kandell said this new pathway is a compromise between making Beginning Journalism available to 9th graders and keeping the old pathway.

“This is kind of an in-between,” Kandell said. “It’s a way to provide some more access and get those (enrollment) numbers up a little bit without completely opening the floodgates to a point where we couldn’t actually handle the influx in the publication classes.”

Wilson said the journalism faculty also considered the wider array of journalism skills students who take these course will bring to a publication.

“(In journalism), there’s probably less print happening and more podcasting, web technology, and photo and video broadcasting that are happening in a variety of places,” Wilson said. “We want to make sure we’re on top of this and can provide those opportunities for people so they are coming to the staffs with a set of skills, but not necessarily all the exact same skills, which I think can be useful.”

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