Journalism Program Gets a Boost With Modernized Newsroom-Classroom

Lawrence Lerner

The Journalism Program at Rutgers-Newark has been in expansion mode over the last three years. Enrollment has nearly tripled, the faculty and course offerings have diversified, and the department opened a new digital journalism lab last year.

This fall, the program will get another boost with the arrival of a new state-of-the-art classroom to help it modernize and better serve students.

The space, which underwent construction over the summer, will mimic an actual newsroom, with an island in the middle for editor-instructors and reporter-students situated around the periphery. It will be equipped with the latest Apple computers and multimedia software, data ports, a projector and screen, upgraded electrical system, printers and scanners, large LED TV screen, and modern sound system.

Most important, it is larger then the program’s previous space and will accommodate 22 students, all of whom can work on a computer.

“This is a huge upgrade from our former classroom,” says Robin Fisher, coordinator of the Journalism Program. “We’d been holding some classes in rooms without computers, which made it tough to fulfill our mission. This opens up a whole new world for us.”

The upgraded newsroom-classroom was made possible by a gift from alumnus David Sloan (NCAS ’76), an Emmy Award–winning executive producer at ABC News. Sloan gave $10k toward the space, and his employer, Disney Company, matched it for a total gift of $20k.

It was a similar gift from Sloan and Disney that made possible the digital journalism lab that opened in Fall 2012. That project was also a game-changer for the Rutgers-Newark Journalism Program, enabling students needing multimedia skills to stay competitive in the job market.

Both facilities sparked changes in the Journalism curriculum that are helping it stay current with seismic shifts in the industry.

“The students and faculty are extremely grateful to David [Sloan],” says Fisher. “He’s the best friend we could have, one who genuinely cares about our students being fully prepared to meet the new challenges of our rapidly changing field.”