by Jackson Katanic
The Chaos of Journalism
“Fake news.” This phrase has become a buzzword for much of the journalism coming from major media corporations. It especially connotes the idea that one cannot trust the Leftist media because their journalism is faulty. Unfortunately, while journalism is mostly dead at major news companies, it is also lacking at almost all news companies, left and right. The so-called “opinion” sections of news sources are less and less distinguishable from regular news pieces. Opinions are no longer based on fact since reader count and profit have generally become more important than the truth.
Patrick Henry College has developed the Journalism Major to remedy this problem. The Journalism Major is designed to teach Christian writers how to tell the truth and how to bring that truth into the workplace. Most importantly, the program is focused on the art of true storytelling, training students how to see the world clearly—as it truly is—and help others see the world clearly too.
The Goal at Patrick Henry College
All of Patrick Henry College’s majors have been carefully selected for a powerful purpose and the Journalism Major is no exception. In order to produce writers who can tell the truth effectively, it combines three main tenets: the classical core curriculum, the habits of truth and good journalism, and professional training and experience. The first two of these is to fulfill the higher purpose of journalism and the third is to ensure that graduates of the program can fulfill that higher purpose.
Patrick Henry College puts special emphasis on its classical Christian core curriculum. One reason for the extensive and broad-based core curriculum is to provide the same education that helped to shape the thinking of our country’s Founding Fathers. Students must study philosophers that the Founding Fathers studied, including the ancient Greeks, Aquinas, Hobbes, and Locke. The core also emphasizes history of the United States and Western Civilization, government, law, and many other subjects. These foundational 66 credits are designed
- to support the further studies of students,
- to provide well-rounded thinking and critical analysis,
- to enable students to be most effective in the workplace by being knowledgeable about the world around them,
- and to be best equipped to glorify God with their gifts and abilities.
No one would contend that a writer does not need extensive knowledge to be great. Thus, Patrick Henry College’s core gives journalism students a comprehensive grasp of the world in order to discern it more clearly.
Clear Writing while at Patrick Henry College
The rest of Patrick Henry College’s core also features an extensive amount of writing assignments. Combined with all the work of journalism classes, students of journalism are ensured to be very skilled at writing after their four years. There is a noticeable trend at major colleges to have students focus on classes and majors specifically geared towards their major. This pragmatic approach leaves out the major benefit of having crossover from other disciplines. Doing different kinds of work, especially various types of writing, gives one adaptability and greater critical thinking skills. Much like any athlete will cross-train in other sports besides their own, students who study in other fields perform better at their own field because their weaknesses can be improved and their strengths exercised in new ways.
All students in the PHC journalism major follow the same pattern of study at Patrick Henry College. Freshman and sophomore year is when the focus is on core classes and the fundamentals of journalistic thought. Journalistic thought is the basis for which graduates of the journalism program will make their decisions in the workforce. Modern journalists at many news companies do not have this basis and hence produce very poor critical analysis. These pieces often feature low-quality writing, bias, personal opinion, and a virtual no fact-checking. In contrast, journalism students at Patrick Henry College are trained to overcome these obstacles, not only for professionalism’s sake but also to glorify God by telling the truth effectively. Classes employ a heavy writing workload for the students beginning in the first week on campus. As time goes on, they learn how bias and opinion appear in writing and how to avoid it. They also learn effective research techniques to ensure an accurate retelling of the facts.
Clarity of What is True at Patrick Henry College
Not only is this training necessary for good journalism, it also is for morality’s sake. Being entrusted with power to tell facts to millions of people is not to be taken lightly and negligence with it is very dangerous. The difference between journalism at large and journalism at Patrick Henry College is that the former’s goal is to write “good” or entertaining stories to get readers and cause sensations while also aligning with the majority political opinion of the news companies. The latter’s is to give the public the truth about what is actually going on in the world, whether it is politically expedient or not.
Professionally and Persuasively Articulate
As with most other majors at Patrick Henry College, the Journalism program relies on real-life professional training to prepare students to jump into the workforce. While the first part of a journalism student’s journey is the classical core and journalism ethics, the second part is the professional preparation to ensure he is ready to make a difference in the workforce. This training begins with an on-campus internship for the Patrick Henry College newspaper that most students start sophomore year. They get initial experience learning how to effectively interview, gather information, and write compelling and informative pieces.
The next step for students is a mandatory semester-long off-campus internship. Real-world training in the workforce is often the most valuable way to learn a vocation from a purely professional standpoint as opposed to classroom training. Simultaneously, classes that journalism students take become more professionally-oriented, covering topics such as social media relations, print media graphics, and others.
The Difference at Patrick Henry College
Because of its use of the Christian classical core curriculum, true journalistic thought, and professional training, the Journalism Program at Patrick Henry College distinguishes itself from other undergraduate programs in the field. As a testament to the strength of the rich program, many PHC alumni are published in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, WORLD Magazine, and regularly appearing on FOX News and CNN.
Our society needs Christians in the media, in government, in markets, and in ministry who can help people see the world clearly and theregy live rightly. Inquire about Journalism at Patrick Henry College today; www.phc.edu/journalism.