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Journalism Name Change Reflects Expanded Scope

Sept. 14, 2011

In a move designed to better reflect academic offerings and changes in the profession, the Department of Journalism and Media Arts in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences has officially become the Department of Journalism, Public Relations and New Media. The name change has been approved by the Baylor Provost's Office.

"The field of journalism is changing so rapidly that we are trying to keep up with the latest expansion into new kinds of media," Dr. Frieda H. Blackwell, interim department chair and associate dean for humanities in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. "Our new name is more reflective of the things our students are actually studying."

Students in the department may choose from two academic sequences -- news editorial or public relations. The growing popularity of the latter sequence is why it was added to the department name.

"Students in the public relations sequence now account for about half of the students in the department," Blackwell said. "In addition, the field is changing so rapidly that proficiency in new media -- including blogs, websites and social media -- is becoming very important to journalists. So we decided to add both of these to journalism to get a name that more accurately reflects what the department is now involved in."

Rapid changes in journalism have prompted two name changes in the department in little more than a year. The Department of Journalism became the Department of Journalism and Media Arts in June 2010 in an effort to reflect a more accurate description of the curriculum, but a second name change was needed to clear up confusion.

"Media arts refers more to the fields of film and digital media than to journalism," Blackwell said. "The use of 'arts' in the name also caused some confusion with the curriculum of Baylor's art department, which teaches graphic design as well as other media-related disciplines. Our new department name hopefully eliminates this confusion while providing an accurate description of who we are."