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Journalism major returning to UND

O'Kelly Hall; the building that houses UND's communication school.
Shawna Noel Schill
O'Kelly Hall; the building that houses UND's communication school.

Students will be able to major in journalism this fall, 100 years after the major was first offered at the school.

One hundred years after it first arrived on campus, the University of North Dakota is bringing back its official journalism major.

Soojung Kim is Chair and Associate Professor of Communication at UND. She says the journalism major first arrived at the school in 1924, and in 1985, the Department of Journalism merged with the Department of Speech to create the School of Communication. She says aspects of journalism education have slowly left the institution ever since then, so it’s thrilling to be able to bring the major back. She says the fact that the school will return on the centennial of the program is just luck – UND applied for the President’s strategic initiative call, was selected, and will be able to offer the major this fall.

Kim says students who lived through the COVID-19 pandemic are eager to right the ship when it comes to combating disinformation in the digital age, and this major will offer tools to help them do that.

"Serving the community has really been a big focus of this new degree proposal; so we have this community journalism, which I see not just as a geographic community, but even in a mediated digital community where a lot of our students are a part of. So we want to focus on the fundamentals of journalism, but at the same time we can't deny the fact that our students, this generation grew up with digital technology and social media, and that technology changes almost daily. And then we want them to be able to use those digital skillsets and multimedia environments that they grew up in, and then become a journalist within that environment."

Kim says the school will celebrate the centennial of the journalism school in April of this year. She says many journalists who are UND alumni have been consulted on what they believe should be taught in a journalism program.