After years of student discussion and requests, the English department announced a Journalistic Writing minor earlier this week.
The faculty of the Creative Writing Program, in conjunction with the Dean’s Advisory Board, created this option for students interested in learning about journalism in the classroom.
The minor will consist of one required course in long-form journalism, which focuses on the 1960s. Students then choose five more workshops in Journalistic Writing. Urban Studies 252 can substitute for one of the courses.
While students have been able to either concentrate or minor in Creative Writing in the past, a Journalistic Writing option has not been available until now.
“It provides a real-world alternative to creative writing,” College sophomore Matt Chylak said.
“It was very obvious that if created, there would be a lot of interest,” Director for the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing Al Filreis said.
Filreis called the new initiative “very exciting” since it brings together all that the Critical Writing Program has to offer — high-profiled professors, such as Paul Hendrickson and Dick Polman, as well as great Journalistic Writing courses.
Hendrickson, a former features writer at The Washington Post, said that because journalism programs are not common in the Ivy League, this initiative shows that Penn is “willing to look at students’ interests in a serious and out-of-common way.”
Since Penn already offers intensive journalism writing courses, this is a way to “meet interest and formalize it within the English department [which] is not only smart but practical,” Hendrickson said.
“Knowledge of journalism is immensely practical for anyone who intends to pursue a profession in business, engineering, the arts, the sciences, the social sciences or law,” Critical Writing Program Director Valerie Ross said.
Since most of these careers will need to control or attract the press, understanding the industry “will prove invaluable in either case,” she said.
Even though the practice of writing is generally the same across genres, Ross emphasized that journalistic writing “has its own rules of evidence, approach to organization and documentation … it also shapes the way we think.”
English major Shivani Srivastav, a College sophomore, believes it could “appeal to people not only in the English major who are interested in journalism.”
Britte Kirby, a College junior and English minor, said this is option would be “very appealing to me” and that she would have absolutely taken this minor on if it had been available earlier.Comments powered by Disqus
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