Philip Merrill College Of Journalism - Bad Journalism School that Deceives all Undergraduate Broadcast Journalism Students and Minorities of an Opportunity
I am writing to you today as I wish to provide a formal complaint about the undergraduate broadcast journalism program at the University of Maryland‘s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. There must be more opportunities for students who aspire to be a television news reporter.
During my time at the College of Journalism, I applied to the Capital News Service TV's Broadcast Bureau (CNS-TV) and The ViewFinder, and was declined multiple times. There were no other further opportunities for undergraduate broadcast journalism students like me to be a television news reporter. The other non-Capital News Service and non-viewfinder capstone courses neither meet the undergraduate broadcast students’ interest in television news reporting nor prepare them to be a television news reporter. I have already taken the initial steps to resolve this by speaking to the Undergraduate Dean: Olive Reid and the Dean of Academic Affairs: Rafael Lorente.
However, up to this point, they have failed to provide a satisfactory outcome nor resolved these problems, so I am taking the action to raise my concerns with you and to provide recommendations that should be taken seriously. The alternative option and the advice I was given by the Philip Merrill College of Journalism advisers was not successful, and has caused problems for me with news directors and recruiters well-known broadcast companies and its local television news station affiliates such as Sinclair Broadcast Group, Gray Television, TEGNA, Media General, Raycom Media, News-Press and Gazette, Nexstar Broadcasting Group and the E.W. Scripps Company who are requesting to see a reporter resume reel in television news, and I do not have one. I cannot even get a job as a television news reporter with your journalism school because I was neither given the opportunity to do Capital News Service by Ms.
Susan "Sue" Kopen-Katcef nor The ViewFinder by Ms. Bethany Swain (Chamberland). I am now forced to pay thousands and thousands of dollars to a private third-party company that invests in making resume demo reels for TV news and sports. There are students at the other universities, including the Philip Merrill College of Journalism who are resorting to this option among others where the current capstones, opportunities, and courses in the undergraduate broadcast journalism program are neither working in their favor nor their interest.
Because it is too late in my college career for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to help me further in this matter and my career endeavors, I can no longer give you the full proper credit that your school helped me obtain a television news reporting/multimedia journalist job at a small television news station market. The Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland has already failed to help me as a student/aspiring television news reporter. I strongly recommend that you restructure the curriculum to help the current, new, and prospective students in the undergraduate broadcast journalism program. Concerns: The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is robbing undergraduate broadcast journalism students who want to be a television news reporter out of an opportunity to be a reporter for CNS-TV and/or The ViewFinder.
Not many of the undergraduate broadcast students can get into the Capital News Service Program or The ViewFinder. The Philip Merrill College of Journalism has made the excuse of saying, “there are not enough seats guaranteed for CNS-TV or The ViewFinder as we must make these seats available for the master’s students and we do not have enough professors to teach the undergraduate sections.” Financial resources and contributions are no excuse. These courses and opportunities are already guaranteed to master’s students, but not to undergraduate students. I have seen some undergraduate broadcast journalism students doing both CNS-TV and The ViewFinder in consecutive semesters.
Then, some of the students who completed both opportunities or did one of them do not end up being a reporter, or anchor. Instead, they are seeking jobs as producers, production assistants, or another non-on-air roles. Others take jobs outside of journalism working in law firms, public relations firms or holding other non-journalism jobs. This strongly suggests that some of the undergraduate broadcast journalism students are taking CNS-TV and The ViewFinder for granted where the Philip Merrill College of Journalism and these undergraduate broadcast students selected to the courses are stealing these opportunities from other undergraduate broadcast journalism students who truly need these programs and opportunities in order to obtain employment as a television news reporter and/or a television news anchor.
There are no other reasonable options for them. The only options for the undergraduate broadcast journalism students who did not have an opportunity to CNS-TV and The ViewFinder due to the valid reasons mentioned above are as follows: Option 1: Obtain a resume demo reel/tape from a private company such as American Broadcast Talent (http://www.americanbroadcasttalent.com/ ), Showcase Resume Tapes (http://www.showcaseresumetapes.com/ ), Reel Media Group (http://www.reelmediagroup.tv/ ), Los Angeles Reporter Clinic (http://www.newsreporterreel.com/ ), Break Into TV (http://www.breakintotv.net/ ), and OAP Media Group (http://www.oapmediagroup.com/ ) among others. There are many of these private companies out there that offer these services, and it is very expensive. Not many of the undergraduate broadcast journalism students have the money to do this.
These companies only care about the money and not the individual using their service. It become very arduous and incommodious for the students to change the demo reel over time. Option 2: Go to graduate school. Students would have to go to journalism graduate schools such as CUNY School of Journalism, Columbia University's School of Journalism, and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism (graduate level).
Not many of these journalism graduate schools including the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism lets any student in. It is very competitive and if a student cannot get admitted and/or does not have the financial means to attend, then they are out of an option with continued/post-baccalaureate education. Also, not all communication and journalism graduate schools are hands-on. There are some out there that only study the academia and communication theory as well as do not have a TV station where there are newscasts or a sportscast, a radio station, and/or a student newspaper.
Option 3: Be a desk assistant and/or a producer/production assistant at a TV news station or a TV news program. This is the last option that undergraduate broadcast students have to resort to. The problem with this option depends on the TV news station, broadcast company, or TV news program where there might not be an opportunity for the undergraduate broadcast journalism students to be promoted to a news reporter, if they are working as a desk assistant, news assistant, production assistant, any type of assistant, or producer. Some companies like the PBS NewsHour for instance do not have the option for their news assistants to be a reporter or a producer.
They can only be promoted into a production assistant position. Also, some of these jobs are temporary and may not provide benefits. One of the things that these companies will not provide to desk assistants, production assistants, news assistants, assistants, and producers and editors is to make their own resume demo reel tape. The individuals in those positions have to make a demo reel on their own.
The TV news stations, TV news programs, and broadcast companies will neither be liable nor responsible in making a demo reel. This means these students do not have the resources, such as a broadcast camera, DSLR camera, tripod, wireless mics, directional microphone, shotgun microphone, and other equipment necessary to make a demo reel. They might not have access to photographer/videographer and the news studio at their job to make a demo reel. What does this all mean for this option?
The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is forcing their students to do a job that they do not like and where they may never be an on-air television news reporter or a producer. The Philip Merrill College of Journalism is not doing enough for their undergraduate broadcast journalism students. Suggested Recommendations: Recommendation # 1: I would really like the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to please add more seats in Capital News Service Broadcast Bureau and The ViewFinder program, and make both of these programs guaranteed for all students, regardless of being an undergraduate or a master student so that the undergraduate broadcast journalism students are able to take advantage this opportunity, especially those like me that are truly here for the opportunity. Please open more bureaus for Capital News Service TV and The ViewFinder if they cannot do it at College Park, MD.
They must have other CNS-TV and The ViewFinder bureau options in Washington DC, Southern Maryland, Central Maryland, Delmarva Peninsula, Western Maryland, Central Virginia, Tri-Cities (VA-TN-NC), Eastern North Carolina, various areas of West Virginia and Virginia, Central Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania, various areas of Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and other locations through the United States. Also, please do a background check on all students applying to CNS-TV and The Viewfinder to make sure that the students who are doing this program are actually here for it. Take a second and third look at reporting candidates before making the final decision of having them in these programs and please consider doing in-person interviews at all times on-campus as well as comprehensively review their application and question it in the interview hiring process. This is also includes asking students to provide references who can vouch for them as well as employment and coursework history to know that they actually did journalism internships, a part-time or a full-time journalism job at a television news station, journalism-related extracurricular activities, and took specific courses at Philip Merrill College of Journalism and/or other competitive undergraduate journalism schools.
Recommendation # 2: The Philip Merrill College of Journalism must host a public/open information session forum multiple times per semester for all of their capstones, especially CNS-TV and The ViewFinder. Not many students know about these capstones until their final two years of college. This would be very important for all students - current students, freshman, but especially prospective students: transfer students (from the community college, four-year public in-state colleges and universities, liberal arts colleges and four-year private colleges and universities), high school students from public, private, and preparatory schools in all 50 states including Washington DC, and their parents so that they have options. CNS-TV and The ViewFinder and other capstones need to have an information session openly, honestly, and publicly where they tell current and prospective students the requirements for admission, what the phrase "send five video samples of your best work" and "upload a link of a package you shot and edited " really mean and what CNS-TV and the ViewFinder, especially for the broadcast side are actually and really looking from the undergraduate broadcast journalism students from an employment standpoint very similar to what a news directors/hiring manager is looking for in candidates/applicants seeking to be reporters at TV news stations and broadcast companies.
There must be transparency, honesty, and trustworthiness here. You need to tell them the truth because if the Philip Merrill College of Journalism does not have what a current or prospective student is looking for, they have the right to transfer to a better journalism program where the majority are out-of-state who are your competitors. This especially goes for in-state students who reside in Maryland. This flagship university is the only option for them as the 11 of our 12 universities under the University System of Maryland and the private Maryland colleges do not have a journalism program, no opportunities and resources for students to get a TV news internship and a job in TV news as a reporter/multimedia journalist, producer, or anchor.
I have been at one of those institutions and witnessed it firsthand. If Philip Merrill College of Journalism fails to rectify the problem in the near future, you will lose your students. Strongly rest assured that your students will go to other undergraduate journalism schools, such as Ohio University's E.W. Scripps' School of Journalism, University of Missouri's School of Journalism, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Syracuse University's S.I.
Newhouse School of Public Communications, University of Miami's School of Communications, University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communication, University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications, University of North Carolina's School of Media and Journalism, West Virginia University's Reed School of Media, Marshall University’s The W. Page Pitt School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Hofstra University’s Department of Journalism/Media Studies/Public Relations, Pennsylvania State University's College of Communication, Elon University's School of Communications, Howard University’s School of Communications and other schools whose programs and newscasts reporting/videography opportunities are guaranteed to all undergraduate students once being admitted into the program. Recommendation # 3: The Philip Merrill College of Journalism must add more videography courses for students who do not feel the skills are strong enough or up to par after either taking JOUR 203, JOUR 262, and JOUR 361 or both. They need improvement courses for these skills since they will be doing this for both the short and long term if they decide to be a reporter/multimedia journalist, anchor, or producer at a TV news station and in hands-on journalism internship and part-time or full-time journalism employment opportunities that require these skills .
News directors and hiring managers look for these skills. Please also have a separate beginner level and intermediate level classes on DSLR videography so that students can prepare to do The ViewFinder. Please also have a separate beginner level and intermediate photography class besides JOUR 370: Photojournalism course which is not enough. Recommendation # 4: Provide more help to students who need assistance in having a broadcast voice.
JOUR 368T: On Camera Performance course does not solve everything. You need to start this earlier as soon as the students enter the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Have a beginner class and an advance class as well as one-on-one voice coaching for those who truly need it. Recommendation # 5: Please provide tutors for JOUR 203: Multimedia Skills, but especially JOUR 262: News Videography (Broadcast Field and Studio Production) and JOUR 361: Television Reporting and Production respectively for students who may need more one-on-one help improving and grasping the skills than what the course and the professor can provide as not many professor and other student classmates in enrolled in the courses have the time.
Please hire more full-time professors instead of adjunct professors for undergraduate broadcast journalism students to better decide which professor is really right for them and has equal amount of time for them. Recommendation # 6: Please have more "Television Reporting and Production" and "News Videography" classes very similar to JOUR 361 and JOUR 262 respectively for news reporters earlier in the semester. A beginner's class is that students can get help before J361/J262, during J361/J262, and after J361/J262 before doing CNS-TV and The Viewfinder. Identify students who may need help or will have significant difficulty getting admitted into The ViewFinder and CNS-TV.
Recommendation # 7: Help students with learning disabilities who are broadcast journalism majors. They are strongly underrepresented and not represented at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Many of them do not get help and are constantly discouraged by faculty members at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism in pursuing aspirations in being a reporter, anchor, or producer. CNS-TV and The ViewFinder have never had a reporter with a learning disability in their program representing the disabled community nor a reporting beat on disabilities.
You need to do more for this community and these students. If the University of Maryland's Disability Support Services (DSS) are not doing anything for learning disabled students, then who else will? Please also have more undergraduate students of color in the CNS-TV and The ViewFinder programs as they are not diversified enough. Only 2-10 percent of minorities are represented in these programs.
Give more opportunities to minority students of colors, disabled students, military students, and the LGBT students. Hire more professors from these underrepresented communities for all of the hands-on courses, especially CNS-TV and The ViewFinder. All communities must be represented. The Philip Merrill College of Journalism needs to do more.
Recommendation # 8: Provide employment support, job search preparation, and employment guidance to all alumnis of the journalism school, especially recent undergraduate graduates. Many of the recent undergraduate journalism graduates are having difficulty finding employment in the journalism profession, especially in broadcast journalism. They truly do not have support or guidance from the school. These graduates feel very alone and isolated as the Philip Merrill College of Journalism is not doing anything to help them; and therefore, have abandoned these graduates and left them to navigate the job search process alone.
This especially applies to recent broadcast journalism graduates who did not had an opportunity from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism to participate in CNS-TV and The ViewFinder. The professors, adjunct professors, lecturers and all other faculty members have provided little to no support. The graduates are unprepared for the broadcast journalism television news profession as news directors and hiring managers are not taking them seriously in all stages of the job search process. In closing, the Philip Merrill College of Journalism really needs to step up to the plate and help the undergraduate broadcast journalism students.
If you do not help them or make any changes in regards to restructuring the undergraduate broadcast journalism program and its curriculum, you will lose your students. Again, you will lose your students. Rest assured: if the Philip Merrill College of Journalism fails to rectify the problem in the near future, you will lose your students.
Strongly rest assured that your students will go to other undergraduate journalism schools whose programs are better than yours and have more opportunities, and courses for their students. I hope that these conflicts are fully successfully rectified in the future.
Reason of review: Bad quality.
I didn't like: Cannot do capital news service tv nor the viewfinder, Sue kopen-katcef, Bethany swain, No actual support or services for learning-disabled students, School does not help you find a job no jobs.