Journalism Society Returns to Cal U
Strother, Timothy A., Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
A local chapter of one of the nation's most prestigious media advocacy organizations was reactivated last month by several journalism students at California University of Pennsylvania.
Margo Wilson, assistant professor of English and journalism, said 15 students at Cal U founded a chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, an organization dedicated to promoting ethical journalism and advocating First Amendment rights.
Wilson, the organization's faculty adviser, said the university had formed an SPJ chapter in the mid-1990s that became inactive because of administrative changes in the university's English department. Wilson said she acquired a charter to restart the organization when she was hired by the university five years ago, but was unable to do so until now.
Wilson and her colleague, journalism professor Todd Carlisle, began promoting their collective idea to reactivate the organization when students returned to classes in late August. Interested students then held two meetings in October at which founding members paid dues and elected officers. Carlisle and Wilson said they were pleasantly surprised by the students' response, and are optimistic about the future of the organization.
"Professor Carlisle and I both feel this is a worthwhile organization, and we both wanted our students to become involved with it as well," Wilson said.
Wilson also said Cal U's affiliation with the SPJ adds credibility to its journalism program, a concentration offered to students seeking a bachelor's degree in English.
"We want (Cal U) to be competitive among other journalism programs," Wilson said.
She said the university's method of teaching journalism is unusual because it emphasizes strong writing skills. …