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Hard thinking in my last semester

January 9, 2009

This post isn’t about what you probably think it is (read: job search, life decisions). It’s about the Intro to Journalism class that I’m currently taking as an upper-division elective credit. It’s a 300-person course taught by both a professor (former Dean of Grady College Soloski) and a teaching Assistant (James). It’s chock full of sophomores who are more interested in broadcasting their spring break pictures on Facebook during class than actually paying attention. But there are a few people who are interested, me included.

Here’s a line from our syllabus:

Some of the media controversies that will be discussed deal with issues that may be offensive to some students.  Students will be warned before such issues are discussed.  Students who may be offended by the material will not be required to participate in the class.

Plainly put, I’m excited about having a class with some controversy in it. There’s no real controversy in insurance or real estate class. Real estate exists. No controversy. Insurance exists and generally helps people. No controversy. But this class will be tackling much bigger things. We talked about Daniel Pearl and the video. We debunked the myth that NYC is one of America’s most dangerous cities. And we talked about incest trials, rape victims and the like. All on the first day. And I just completed our mandatory questionnaire online, which addressed issues like the war in Irag, Playboy and Huck Finn in public schools, violence on television and many others. Now, I’ve thought about issues like these very frequently over the past few years, ever since I began forming my own opinions. But I’ve never had a class that forced me to analyze those opinions critically and express why. This one will.

And I think it couldn’t come at a better time in my life. When else could I most benefit from analyzing my own personal beliefs? There is no better time than this semester, right before I launch myself into the rest of my life.

So all that to say, expect updates on things from this class. Expect my opinions and justifications. And (hopefully) expect some controversy and some offense. Maybe it’ll spur some people to comment and we can have a little back-and-forth. I look forward to it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. cchiego permalink
    January 11, 2009 2:32 am

    It’s sad that there had to be extra-special warnings on the class syllabus that yes, there might be some controversial debate in class. Too many times I’ve seen classes run away from controversies instead of embracing them, as the fear of offending people trumps the value of learning. While business classes may seem to lend themselves to a lack of discussion, it’s amazed me how religion, philosophy, and history classes often lack or even discourage disagreements/debates.

    Perhaps your class is unique because you have a professor who’s not afraid of controversy anymore after his own experience?

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