EKU Journalism: Ecstacy to Agony and Back Again

It’s been an up, down and cautiously back up last few months for the Journalism department at Eastern Kentucky University.

During the summer, it was named the SPJ’s Best Chapter in Region 5, and that came on the same day the Journalism department found out it was one of the programs being considered for budget cuts.

The huge sigh of relief you heard earlier this week was from the faculty, staff and students of the Journalism department when the administration announced journalism would not be cut out of the curriculum.

The administration was well aware of the quality of Eastern’s program before even considering it for cuts but efforts never stopped from those involved in the program and those familiar with the program to ask the administration not to give up the journalism program.

This week’s On Second Thought also includes an article from the Lexington Herald-Leader about the budget cuts at Eastern with some contentious discussion as some programs were axed.

Below is the story I posted August 26 in On Second Thought about the Journalism department’s situation at EKU:

Could a program that’s supplied nearly 25 percent of all KPA interns in the last four years be nearing the end? Reports out of Eastern Kentucky University indicate its journalism program may be one of the programs the administration is looking at getting rid of.

It certainly can’t be because it’s not a quality program.

And it certainly can’t be because students have lost interest. After all, classes have resumed and the number of students in journalism there is still pretty strong.

EKU’s president is well aware of the school’s success with the internship program. He tweeted congrats last Spring when the announcements were made.
EKU’s president is well aware of the school’s success with the internship program. He tweeted ‘HUGE kudos’ last Spring when the announcements were made.
You can look at the last four years of the KPA internship program and know that it’s a program that’s respected by newspapers. Of 96 interns we’ve made available to newspapers since 2013, right at one-fourth of them (23 of 96) are students from Eastern Kentucky University.

Indicative of that program being one that could be cut is an irony. On the same day EKU announced budget cuts were making it look for majors and minors to cut — with journalism among the potential ones — the Society of Professional Journalists announced that EKU’s program was receiving an “Outstanding Chapter” award. The honor is for Outstanding Campus Chapter in Region 5 — and that encompasses Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana.

And, oh by the way, it’s not the first time the EKU Chapter has won the award. And by the way, it’s not the second time the chapter has been so honored. In the last seven years, the EKU Chapter of SPJ has received the top honor three times!!



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