Merger will only destroy

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 27, 2002

I graduated from Auburn University in December 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

And despite the controversy that is ever present with any institution (Auburn does seem to have its share), I’m very proud of that.

The journalism department at Auburn taught me well.

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Since I’ve been out of school and actually working in my field, I’ve been reminded of that again and again.

At Auburn, my fellow students and I learned the basics of good writing with a strong emphasis on ethics.

We learned of the importance of our relationship to our readers and we learned of our responsibilities in an occupation which is in a position to exert tremenous influence.

With this well-rounded education, I went out into the real world and have finally come to Demopolis.

Now I hear that Auburn’s dean of liberal arts has made a move that, I believe, will eventually see the decline of the program I hold dear.

He wants to merge the journalism department, which has maintained a distinct presence on the Auburn campus since 1974, with the communications department.

Now, I’m not knocking the communications department by any means. In fact, my little brother graduated with a degree in communications. It’s a great department.

But journalism and communications are two different animals, so to speak.

A former professor of mine, Dr. Jerry Brown, who also served as the dean of the department, said it best.

It was said by those who are pushing for the merger that the department should be swallowed up by communications to save money. However, only $50,000 will be saved annually if the two are merged.

That’s only a drop in the bucket of the more than $400 million Auburn University budget.

Frankly, I say go pick on someone else.

Having been working "in the real world" and participating in the search and hiring of journalists for reporter positions,

I have found that Auburn journalism graduates are the most qualified of any in the state to begin working as reporters.

I have interviewed students from other universities in and around Alabama that were grossly unprepared to step up and do

the job that needed to be done.

All this will inevitably change if Auburn’s journalism department is swallowed up by the communications department.

The $50,000 savings is just not worth it. There are many other ways to cut costs at Auburn University. I’d name them, but the list is enormous.

Once again, I, on behalf of my fellow journalism graduates, current journalism students and journalists across Alabama, urge the dean of liberal arts and others in power at Auburn, to cease in your efforts to destroy one of the positive aspects of Auburn University.

In other words, go pick on someone else.