Student journalism is often times a thankless pursuit. It includes long hours of researching and reporting, as well as highly uncomfortable interviews with people who talk too fast for note taking. All the while we juggle a full class load, work schedules, and our barely existent social lives. We keep writing, photographing, drawing, and editing because it’s what we are passionate about. Here at The Leader, we love pursuing the truth and reporting on the issues our community needs to know about. Unfortunately, passion alone doesn’t bring in numbers or sustain reliability in a student newspaper. If the College wants to support our success and cultivate a standard of effective journalism, they need to create a journalism program. This would allow for a more rigorous study of the craft we are already exceeding in. The addition of broadcast journalism would further open up avenues for students seeking a career in the field. Incorporating multimedia elements into the program would arguably propel the College into a competitive option for prospective journalists. The Leader is the number one ranked newspaper in Illinois for schools of our size, which means we are the logical choice for serious journalists seeking the best-fit college. That is, until they open up the department brochure and can’t find a single mention of journalism. It’s nonsensical, really, to have such an apparent need unmet. We were given our larger office and have been recognized for our accolades, yet we aren’t taken seriously enough to merit a program. Rather than an entire new department, journalism could at least be offered as an area of focus for English majors. This would require the College to hire more journalism professors and offer additional courses curtailed to the profession. It would offer the opportunity for more writers to join the staff of The Leader as part of their career development, rather than an extracurricular that many talented writers may overlook. Beyond touting The Leader, the College could benefit from the program’s freshness. It has the possibility of forging into new territory with multimedia components at the forefront. WRSE could act as a resource for integrating audio streaming and live reporting into the program. Additionally, TVs around campus could be utilized for video reporting. mtvU might have been an interesting idea at the inception, but it has effectively erased WRSE from the campus. Returning to the previous model, where WRSE could be played throughout the Frick Center would draw in students who want to invest their time in broadcast journalism. Those TVs could become EC specific, rather than from an outside source. The talent is right here, we don’t need a sell-out reality TV channel to create media for us. And again, to overlook the admissions draw would be a terrible mistake. The landscape of journalism is constantly evolving and EC could create a true 21st century approach in the field. Marketing the program as a gateway to various up-and-coming multimedia jobs is bound to garner attention. With the aforementioned resources available to students, it has the potential to truly propel students into exciting careers. The Leader’s success is not contingent on a journalism program, but the college’s might be. Give students an academic medium to pursue their passions; it’s bound to be good news.