IUPUI to significantly bolster its journalism/public relations program

Indianapolis bachelor’s/master’s program moves from Bloomington-based School of Journalism management to IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

SLA at IUPUI logoINDIANAPOLIS — Graduate and undergraduate journalism and public relations students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will have access to an array of new resources beginning July 1, when the long-established Indianapolis location of the IU School of Journalism shifts management from IU Bloomington to the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. The program will be known as the IU Department of Journalism and Public Relations at IUPUI.

The move comes as the IU School of Journalism at Bloomington merges on July 1 with the Department of telecommunications and Department of Communication and Culture to form The Media School.

With the transition to local oversight, the IUPUI journalism department will now offer students and faculty additional resources in academic and career advising, curriculum development, research funding, alumni engagement, philanthropic support and more.

School officials also envision partnerships with other departments and schools on campus — such as telecommunications, informatics, event management, medicine and athletics — to further enhance journalism and public relations programs focusing on sports and health/life sciences, and to give students the versatility needed in a rapidly changing profession.

“We’re honored to have our roots in the 100-year-old IU School of Journalism,” said Jonas Bjork, who will become the first chair of the new department. “But as one of IUPUI’s smallest schools, we didn’t have the depth of resources we needed to take our program to the next level. This move — reinforced by unanimous support from our faculty and staff — will help us achieve that.”

Bill Blomquist, dean of the School of Liberal Arts, said the merger is tailor-made for an urban-serving institution in a capital city ripe with professional opportunities.

“The skills and thinking we teach in journalism and public relations –– the ability to search out and explain information — are much in demand among all kinds of employers,” Blomquist said. “Developing those professional skills, along with the versatility instilled by liberal learning, will help prepare our graduates not only for their first jobs but also for the careers that follow.

“What’s more, in this city full of sports, health, life science, government and other communication opportunities, our classroom learning is supplemented and complemented by real-world learning — internships, service projects, guest speakers and more — that you can’t match anywhere else in this state and in few places around the nation.”

Bjork said the name change — to include public relations — is a decision based on the changing nature of the profession and the marketplace.

“While journalists and public relations professionals are, in many places, treated as adversaries, many of the theories and practices we teach journalists and public relations professionals are, in fact, complementary,” Bjork said. “Often, the two groups of professionals must work together, so it helps that we teach them together here at IUPUI with faculty members who bring real-world experience to the table.”

The new Department of Journalism and Public Relations will offer bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and certificates in journalism and public relations with specializations available in sports journalism, health/life science public relations, advertising and other areas.