FIU’s SCJ programs should emphasize hands-on experience over lectures

Ashley Verdugo/Staff Writer

As a communications major, learning goes beyond textbooks and lectures with more focus placed on hands-on experience. But at the School of Communications + Journalism (SCJ) at FIU, experience in the field isn’t at the top of the priority list.

As a broadcast journalism major, I’ve taken more classes based on theory and history than I have on editing, writing and recording videos. It wasn’t until my senior year that I was taught how to use multimedia softwaresomething that greatly benefits me in my career pursuits and thus, should be emphasized.  

From the past two years at FIU, I’ve learned so much more through my work as a staff writer at PantherNOW and host of The Roar’s Claw and Growl radio show than I have sitting in a classroom.

With the addition of social media, SCJ should provide a major that encompasses story-telling with writing and visuals, especially because of how crucial visual content is in this new age of digital journalism.

A so-called “social media class” doesn’t effectively teach us how to do this.

Journalism is a career that evolves with digital advancement. Most of what SCJ majors learned 5 years ago won’t apply today. Our curriculum should be updated consistently to match what employers look for in graduates.

This past fall, the grammar test was replaced with two writing classes in order to fulfill the requirement.

Although it’s a step in the right direction, it’s just the beginning. SCJ has to make significant changes in credit requirements and offer students more resources to have a complete work portfolio by the time they graduate.

Seniors at SCJ have different opinions on how they feel about their time at FIU.

“I think FIU could create more opportunities for every college and school within the university,” Elizabeth Soza said, a senior at SCJ.

Soza pursued a double major in journalism and photography in order to share her love of storytelling through visuals. Originally, she wanted wanted to double major in journalism and advertising, but FIU doesn’t allow a double major within the same school.

Choosing a photography major allowed her to explore her creativity and learn more about recording and visuals, but she still wishes that she would’ve had the opportunity to double major at SCJ.  

“I strongly feel that SCJ should allow students to pursue more than one major and/or minor within the same school,” Soza said.

Of course, students should be encouraged to pursue other majors and minors outside of SCJ, but they shouldn’t have to find another major in order to fulfill what they should be learning.

Soza believes that FIU equipped her with the right tools and resources, but when the school did fall short it was up to the grace of classmates and professors to help her out. She says SCJ should  “[give] not just a general opportunity, but more specific ones that cater to each individual major and student.”

SCJ offers several majors including: advertising, public relations, journalism, broadcast media, TV production and so on, but each one is generalized.

Each student enters SCJ with a vision on how they want to pursue their chosen career paths and while the school cannot cater to all of our needs, students graduating with just “basic” knowledge shouldn’t be the standard the schools aims to meet.

“I don’t think the school does a good job in preparing you for the ‘real world,’” Ximena Tellez, a broadcast journalism major, said.

Tellez majored in broadcast journalism to use her voice in a powerful way through the media.

Coming from Colombia, where the media is controlled by the government, she wanted to spread truth through her reporting in America. However, she doesn’t feel that SCJ did enough to prepare her for her career.  

“I feel equipped, but I think it has to do with my own will to research and practice on my own,” Tellez said.

While it’s important that every student has the motivation to learn outside the classroom, it’s also evident that learning outside of the classroom is more than necessary. Internships are especially important to pick up hands-on skills.

Tellez is currently interning at CBS4, but it wasn’t until later that she realized the importance of doing an internship before graduation.

Because of this, she believes that “career fairs should be mandatory and professors should constantly push students to get an internship.”

Following our career path and pursuing our dreams requires more than going to school, but if we’re required to take 12+ credits every semester, the bulk of our experience should come from the classesnot our free time.



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash.

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