COLUMBIA, Mo.– Journalists write about not only arrests, court proceedings, scandals and murders, but also about music, art and theater. However, few aspiring journalists find time in college schedules packed with hard-hitting journalism classes to take courses in the fine arts. A new grant awarded to the University of Missouri-Columbia will now connect the School of Journalism with the College of Arts and Science to provide journalism students with rare opportunities to study the fine arts.
“The School of Journalism sought this grant because of the belief that our students need more exposure to the fine arts,” said Brian Brooks, professor and associate dean for undergraduate students and admission in MU’s School of Journalism. “We are excited to work with our colleagues in the College of Arts and Science to improve our students’ knowledge of the arts.”
The $250,000 grant, which will be received from Carnegie Corporation of New York over the next two years, will provide funding for special courses in theater, music and art. The courses, which will be specialized for journalism students, begin next semester and will include Perceiving Musical Traditions and Styles, Introduction to Theater Criticism, and Art: Context and Culture.
Judith Mabary, assistant professor of music history and literature and instructor for Perceiving Musical Traditions and Styles, said the goal of these classes is to provide experience and knowledge about the fine arts to future journalists. She said her course will be somewhat different from a traditional music appreciation course in that more time will be spent on forms of musical expression outside the Western tradition, including world music, folk music, jazz and musical theatre. In addition, students will be exposed to a variety of musical styles and asked to write about music performances they attend, in order to develop skills in describing different kinds of music and the nature of the performance.
“The goal of my class is to create a foundation in music and music criticism for future journalists and writers about the arts,” Mabary said. “Journalists who find that they are required to report on the arts need this basic introduction in order to reflect thoughtfully on the subject and for their writing to be seriously received. Those journalists who do not become music, art or theater critics will benefit as well. What we learn from the arts about human nature and the human condition is often transferable in some way to seemingly unrelated fields of endeavor.”
These courses will be offered to journalism students of sophomore or higher standing.