Letter from the dean


The Journalism Student Leadership Board set up a table on Wescoe Beach on April 4 for Hug A Newsperson Day. Board members invited students to take a quiz on fake news and handed out cards with tips on identifying fake news. They also handed out cookies, lollipops and stickers.

The Journalism Student Leadership Board set up a table on Wescoe Beach on April 4 for Hug A Newsperson Day. Board members invited students to take a quiz on fake news and handed out cards with tips on identifying fake news. They also handed out cookies, lollipops and stickers.

Springtime on Mount Oread always brings changes that we see and sense. The Chi Omega fountain is again a magnet for picture-taking and spontaneous bathing. Professors are holding classes on the Stauffer-Flint lawn. And the students are looking both relieved and anxious that the academic year is ending. Seniors, in particular, are spending more hours in the Resource Center and professors' offices as they finish projects and realize they need all the advice they can get.

It's a time of transition. I feel pride and sadness when I think of the journalism students who are leaving us, and we think they feel the same way. Each year, KU reports results of a satisfaction survey of the graduating class. Again this year, our graduates rank the highest in terms of satisfaction for their academic experience. We also earned the highest ranking for "I'd do it again!" Those sentiments were noted in our successful reaccreditation process during this academic year.

This year also has seen more than the usual challenges for our students in journalism and mass communications. One example is the emergence of the expression "fake news." I was so proud of our students when they planned a "fake news" event to help other students spot lies, especially on social media sites. Our students gave other KU students a quiz, and those who did well got a cookie; those who didn't got a sucker. And everyone got stickers to remind them to think about what they are reading.

The school also is working with KU Libraries and the Spencer Museum of Art to develop teach-ins, workshops and other events to bring more awareness about the issues of information literacy. Three of our professors are teaching media and information literacy workshops at the Lawrence Public Library. This fall, one of our professors will be teaching a journalism class on information literacy.

When Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little spoke to the Board of Trustees a few weeks ago, she encouraged us to ensure the accuracy and investigative nature of news. Trust in all institutions, she said, is eroding, and it's up to places like KU to help restore public trust through truth-finding and telling.

In closing, I'd like to remind you that the door is always open for you to return to campus. In October, we hope you can come home for our annual J-School Generations event. In spring 2018, various events will celebrate the 150th birthday of William Allen White. Watch our social media and the fall Jayhawk Journalist for more information on those events. 

Rock Chalk!

 

Ann M. Brill
Dean