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PR dissed by journalism – again

This is old news to many (April), but it just re-read it again on the Bulldog Reporter this week. It touched a nerve. Bob Zelnick, a former ABC news correspondent and head of BU's journalism department stepped down from his post because he recognizes his inadequacies as an administrator. Good on ya, man. It's good to recognize one's strengths and weaknesses. He will instead become a professor of national and international affairs. I admire that. What I found surprising is what he said when he left.

For example, the headline from the Bulldog: Boston University’s Outgoing Journalism Program Chairman Snubs Communications Dept.—Says PR/Advertising and Journalism Should Be “Adversaries,” Not Interdepartmental “Cousins” like, ouch, man.

Headline from the Boston Globe article: Debate roils BU department (By Sarah Schweitzer and Marcella Bombardieri) Well, at least you can tell which article came from a PR source 😉 The part of this article that I like best is the quote from Bob.

"Zelnick said the journalism program has become increasingly competitive with the best in the country, but 'we will never get a Grade A, first-rate, nationally recognized journalist to lead this department as long as it's linked' to mass communication."

It's funny he should say that. As a recent graduate, I've been thinking for years that communication studies have been held back by the placement of the departments in colleges or schools such as Journalism, Fine and Applied Arts, or Stuff No One Cares About in universities across the nation.

I just read Everett M. Rogers' book "History of Communication Study" and I at least now have an understanding of why things are that way in colleges today (you should read it if you like dry, lengthy historical books. Good info, though). But I agree with Zelnik, the departments could be separated, but I think for completely different reasons. Communication study has developed immensely in the last 40 years and deserves a home of its own. Students and communication fields would benefit greatly, especially PR. I applaud those universities and colleges across the world with stellar PR departments, but often students end up at schools they can afford or geographically get to – not often the best schools for all that learnin'.

Any thoughts or is this a tired subject? 

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