UNC looks to reshape its business journalism program
Right on the heels of big news regarding a major endowment gift to its journalism school, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina is reporting that the business journalism program faces an uncertain future after losing its leader.
The program began in the early 2000s under the direction and leadership of Chris Roush, who resigned this past year. Roush now serves as dean of Quinnipiac University’s School of Communications.
Though the future of UNC’s business journalism program is still unclear, Hussman School of Journalism and Media Dean Susan King said faculty will be involved in decisions concerning the future of the program, reports A.J. Oleary in the Daily Tar Heel.
“Discussions have begun,” King said in Oleary’s article. “This is not a decision that a dean makes, this is a faculty decision.”
King said business journalism students are still able to take classes normally. She said Lauren Berry, Bloomberg News employee and UNC alumna, and Carol Wolf, Walter E. Hussman visiting lecturer in business journalism, have stepped up to teach classes in the meantime.
“We’re talking to students,” King said. “We’re talking to alumni. Faculty are sort of amassing — we’re putting together, ‘What are the enrollment trends, what’s best for the students, what can we, as a school support,’ and then we’ll make a decision as to exactly what the program looks like without Chris.”
King said the school’s faculty voted to approve a job description for a new journalism professor last Friday and that the job will be listed soon. She said the hiring process could take about a year.
The media and journalism school is also changing its application process from needing a 3.1 to a more thorough in-depth application.
“I had been at UNC for 17 years,” Roush said. “I’d pretty much done, I think, all I was going to be able to do. I wasn’t moving up anymore, so I started looking for dean’s jobs about three years ago.”
Alums of UNC’s business journalism program have gone on to win Pulitzer prizes and have worked for major news organizations such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Politico, Reuters, Bloomberg, CNBC and the Washington Post.
Carolina alumnus Walter Hussman Jr. and his family have just endowed the school of journalism and media with a $25 million gift, the largest ever received by the institution, in the hopes of restoring the public’s trust in the media.