A GSU J-School Requires Money & Time

There’s an old saying in America that nothing is certain but death and taxes.

Put another way, everything revolves around time and money — and that’s true for Georgia State’s Journalism Program, too.

In recent years, the Communication Department has strengthened core aspects of the program, hiring seasoned professionals to quality coursework inside the Journalism Program but stopping short of pushing for a dedicated Journalism Department or J-school — not because of a lack of demand or university-wide capability but because of a limited timeframe and resources. And, of course, because of the politics of dividing up on the largest, most powerful voices in the College of Arts and Sciences.

However, if conversations with various professors and university officials around campus can be trusted, given a clear deadline and a dedicated benefactor, that could soon change.

And potential benefactors with an interest in a quality, Atlanta-based communications schools abound. After all, the city with a top-10 media market is home to multiple media moguls that have both the money and apparent foresight to see the value of an investment in their home town.

Imagine, for a moment, the “Ted Turner School of Communications” or  the “Anne Cox Chambers School of Journalism” at Georgia State, one of the fastest growing and increasingly competitive research universities in the South. Both have a certain ring to their names, do they not?

From a university perspective, such a donation would give credibility to the program and put a fire under the University Senate and President Mark Becker to confirm the creation of a dedicated journalism school, something desperately lacking in Atlanta.

After all, it’s not unprecedented.

In 1998, Atlanta businessman and philanthropist J. Mack Robinson donated $10 million dollars to the then Georgia State College of Business. In appreciation for the massive endowment, which helped the university hire world-renowned researchers and attract a new class of students, setting the stage for the university’s massive wave of growth in the past 15 years, Georgia State renamed the school after Mr. Robinson, further securing his legacy as a valuable member of the Atlanta community for decades to come.

Such can be the case for a generous benefactor now, perhaps a Georgia State alum looking to give back in a meaningful way or perhaps not. Either way, it doesn’t matter — just the fact that such an outcome is a possibility for a savvy investor is enough for now.

The students want it, and I believe the university is slowly coming around. Let’s make this happen.


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This is the personal page of Chris Shattuck -- an Atlanta-based media professional with a background in business reporting, nonprofits and agency PR.

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