J-school misquotes internships
By Sabrina Carinci
Changes and errors made by Western's Graduate School of Journalism have left some students feeling confused and others angry about the fate of internships within the program.
Last March, journalism students were mailed information about the program. However, some students were mistakenly sent old information pamphlets which did not display the latest changes made to the school's curriculum.
This mix-up left many students unaware of the school's decision to change the timing of internships from January to May.
Some students were even left with the impression the school was cancelling internships all together. "It's all up in the air, so we're really confused," said Brodie Fenlon, a journalism student at Western.
"We never proposed to get rid [of the internships], we just moved it and made it elective," said David Spencer, an associate professor at the journalism school. "Fundamentally, there was an error made in the pamphlets," he added.
Spencer explained there were two main reasons for moving the internships from January to May, including the cross-indexing of courses with other programs as well as giving journalism students a standard third term.
The latter of the two reasons, Spencer explained, was due to the conditions made by the Ontario Council of Graduate Schools, the governing body which accredits graduate programs.
The OCGS gave the journalism school a conditional approval providing various changes were made to the program including the further integration of the school into Western's community.
Cherri Greeno, a journalism student and Faculty of Information and Media Studies Students' Council VP, said she was both confused and unhappy about the changes made to the journalism program, adding they would pose various problems to students who entered the program thinking their internships would begin in January.
"That means we'll fall behind, say, Ryerson students, in finding a job," she said.
Greeno also said the later internships would have financial consequences on students dependent on the Ontario Student Assistant Program. "Student loans will run out by May," she said.
Wendy Crouch, media specialist for the FIMS, said the changes implemented to the program will be beneficial to the school in the long run.
When internships were offered in January, the journalism school was unique to Western in that students from other disciplines could not take journalism-crossed courses. The latest changes to the curriculum, however, will allow the integration of various programs, Crouch said.
Susan Jagminas, president of the FIMS Students' Council, said there was a definite lack of communication between faculty and students. "I'm going to be closely monitoring the situation," she said.