Published: Dec. 1, 2010

journalism student

Kathleen Majewski (Jour’10) does production work at Denver’s KUSA-TV, Channel 9. 

With major technological advances affecting the role of media and the news business, CU-Boulder may replace or transform its journalism school to better prepare students for the digital age. The process began in fall 2009 when a campus task force examined the possibility of creating a new school of information. This coincided with the school adopting a more forward-looking curriculum to reflect the new media environment.

“News and communications transmission as well as the role of the press and journalism in a democratic society are changing at a tremendous pace,” says Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. “We must change with it.”

Since August the campus has moved forward following DiStefano’s request to begin two processes — one to begin “program discontinuance,” which is being carried out by a faculty committee to explore whether the school should be continued, ended or reorganized.

Discontinuance is an unfortunate term, journalism dean Paul Voakes told The Denver Post.

“It implies that we’re shutting down, when the opposite is true,” Voakes says. “Discontinuance is the necessary legal process that would enable us to create the innovative new programs our students need.”

The second process is the formation of an exploratory committee to consider the structure and organization of a new interdisciplinary academic program of information, communication and technology. This could take shape in the current journalism school, a new college or school or as a research institute.

More than 30 universities, including Arizona State and Northwestern, have reimagined their journalism schools.

Both CU committees will issue reports to DiStefano and provost Russ Moore before DiStefano makes a recommendation to the regents in early 2011.

Photo by Glenn Asakawa