Last year, as journalism major, I took all of my classes at Eastern’s
Spokane Center. This meant a half an hour trip each way to commute to class each morning.
If I drove, I had to deal with adverse weather, idiot drivers, and paying an average of three-dollars a day for parking [not to mention gas]. If I rode the good ol’ STA it was economical but I had to deal with meeting crazy, psycho stalkers; being asked for spare change every five seconds; and having to leave ten minutes earlier to class.
Oh, woe is me. Poor Jenn. Right?
Well, think about this. When I started going to school at Eastern in 1996, I signed up to take classes in Cheney not Spokane. If I had wanted to go to school in Spokane, I would have chosen to live in Spokane. But I didn’t. I chose to live in Cheney. If I go to school in Cheney, I should not have to take classes in Spokane.
When I was declaring my major and signing up for classes the next year,
I asked my journalism professor why it was that the journalism program was in Spokane when the student newspaper was on campus.
He responded by saying that they had placed the journalism program in Spokane because it was more accessible to places such as Spokane City Hall and the Spokane County Courthouse, which we would be covering regularly for class exercises.
Sounds reasonable. Right? It did to me too–at first.
The problem arose as the year went by when we had yet to cover city hall or the courthouse once. Finally in Winter Quarter, we covered city hall twice. In Spring Quarter, we covered city hall once and the courthouse twice.
I don’t know about you, but I would much rather commute to class five times a year than five times a week. Beside that, two of the city hall trips we made took place in the evening and were in addition to our normal class time. On those days, I had to commute into Spokane twice.
Does this make any sense? Of course not.
Ok. Just to prove that this is not just me bitching mindlessly, here is one more reason why it is illogical to have the journalism program in
The student newspaper is in Cheney.
Of all the writers we have working for us, other than the editorial staff, only about three of them are journalism majors [All of whom live in Cheney].
Most journalism majors, anticipating they would have to take classes in Spokane, chose to live there. Because of this they won’t work for the paper simply because they don’t want to have to deal with coming out to Cheney for meetings or to turn in stories.
Because of this the quality of the paper suffers. Don’t get me wrong. We have very good writers and greatly appreciate all of them, but journalistic writing has a very different style than most types of writing. As editors we spend a great deal of our time teaching our reporters how to write specifically for a newspaper. Because we employ so many non-journalism majors we never have enough time to train each and every one of our writers to their greatest potential. If we had more journalism majors working for us they could help us in this task.
I understand that the purpose of having classes in Spokane is to offer people who already live in Spokane the chance to take classes without commuting. At least that should be the idea. If this were the idea the only classes offered in Spokane would be duplicate classes, or ones that are created specially for professionals to take in the evenings after their day jobs.
That is not how it works though. Instead, Cheney campus students are commuting in droves to Spokane every day for school. Some are even moving to Spokane in anticipation of having to take classes there. I’m sure Eastern doesn’t want to be losing its resident students to downtown Spokane.
For this reason, Eastern as a university needs to analyze the way its Spokane class program is set up. Why route Cheney campus to Spokane to take classes. It makes no sense.