William Keve , Class of 2018
Community journalism was a class I looked forward to each week because I knew that there was never going to be a day that wasted my time or put a syllabus before a student. The combination of theory and practice in this class is unmatched in any other journalism course. That is one of many reasons so many students retake community journalism over and over again. If I could run the world, Community Journalism would be mandatory for all journalism students at some point in their time at UMass. I don’t know how you can get the full experience of the department without taking it.
McBride’s commitment to student agency went beyond just the five college students. The students from the High School of Commerce could also reach any level of independence they wanted in the class, and some of them accomplished that through their reporting projects and personal narratives. As I worked with three Commerce students on a weekly basis, they were co-directors, writers, and reporters alongside me.
My favorite moment from the class was working on a video project about a recent school walkout in protest of school shootings. Commerce students were understandably apprehensive to talk on camera about this, and anxious about operating the camera and conducting the interviews. But with some encouragement, we started shooting with Commerce students completely at the wheel. My friends and I from UMass just sat back and watched at one point. The students did a fantastic job, and it was one of the best stories I’ve seen produced from the class. It reminded me of my own high school journalism class, which helped spark my interested in reporting.
I hope the community journalism program keeps succeeding and takes the risks it needs to in order to grow even stronger. I hope it’s more thoroughly embraced by the department and the university, and I would love to see more than one trip per week to Springfield, even if the extra trips were voluntary for students. I know that many of them would show up.