Is Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication Good?

Is Drake University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication Good?

Well, ‘good’ is subjective. For me, yes! My education so far with the SJMC has been more than ‘good.’ It’s been engaging, amazing, well-rounded, etc. Let me tell you why.

I’m a sophomore at Drake with a double major in Multimedia Journalism and Magazine Media. One thing I’m always noticing about the SJMC is that they shift their curriculum and major names to fit this ever-changing industry.

 I’ve also been encouraged to try new things! This is a door plaque I made in our innovation studio. 

The Curriculum

For example, my senior friend is graduating with a major in ‘News’ that’s been phased into Multimedia Journalism. The SJMC has also added newer studies like Strategic Political Communication.

The education for my multimedia major is multifaceted. I’ve taken introductory courses in Photoshop, InDesign, and Broadcast Journalism. Early on, I took a multimedia lab to help me discover if I had any interest in digital media production or videography. The SJMC sets you up for success with the wide range of courses you take.

I’m now taking more advanced courses, such as J168 Advanced Reporting. I don’t say this lightly, it has been one of the most challenging journalism courses I’ve taken thus far, but at the same time, it’s further cemented how much I love this field and what I’m writing and reporting.

The SJMC Family

Another reason I consider Drake SJMC more than ‘good’ is the culture of support and familial bond. We frequently refer to the school as ‘the SJMC family.’ Some people might take that as cultish, but we are a family, and everyone wants what’s best for you and is happy to help you, regardless of your major.

I’m from out of state (Texas, baby!), and all the professors here have been nothing but kind and have given me tips for acclimating to the weather, tips for living as a Midwesterner, and more. You really get to know your professors at the j-school, even if you only take one or two classes with them.

For example, I now have an inside joke with an advertising professor over a stick of butter! You won’t get that type of tomfoolery at a state school!

All the professors are easy to reach; sometimes, you’ll run into them outside of class! Des Moines is relatively small, and most professors live around Drake’s neighborhood.

Lastly, one of the key things that drew me to Drake and was a deciding factor in attending here is the ability to jump in and immediately start working for one of our six student publications as a first-year student. In contrast, the University of Oklahoma, my other top school, wouldn’t let students work on publications until their junior year.

My only qualms

I have to include a few qualms I have with the j-school, or this would be called a ‘puff-piece,’ which is something you learn about in J70, Media Editing.

I wish the J-school would notify students of curriculum changes sooner and exactly when classes listed as ‘Fall’ or ‘Spring’ would be available because sometimes they aren’t being taught every spring or fall.

I realize this is a big ask, but if those had been communicated sooner, maybe I could have studied abroad this fall. Courses traditionally taught in the fall, like J103, are being taught next spring instead. I will still get to study abroad, just not for a semester, unless I do something over the summer.

I also wish editor positions within student publications were paid a bit more. I realize it is a privilege to be paid to write for a college newspaper, but we are not paid enough for the hours we work and the amount of work we do, especially running on a shoestring staff.

Pay is almost always an issue with any organization or job, especially in the fields of journalism and education. I wish people realized these fields deserve more money than they get. Journalists and Educators deserve an actual liveable wage. Or in my case, this is an on-campus job, so it should have an hourly rate that is competitive enough that I wouldn’t have to look for a second job. 

Why you should attend Drake SJMC

Despite my few shortcomings, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time so far in the SJMC. My education has been rigorous yet understanding. I’ve had room to grow and make mistakes through my experiences writing and editing for our newspaper, “The Times-Delphic.”

I’ve also honed more technical skills with Adobe software, and I’m encouraged to take courses outside the j-school that interest me. Plus, I have a family and home away from home here. I know all of the professors and faculty at the J-school have my back.

So yes, Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication is excellent. I highly recommend anyone considering Drake SJMC to come here!