Below is a transcript of June 28, 2006, online chat aimed at incoming full-time M.S. students. About 40 students participated in at least parts of the hour-long session. Information about the the next sessions have been sent out via e-mail:
Friday, July 7.
SESSION I: 1-2 pm, NY time - aimed at incoming full-time MS students, but
all are welcome.
SESSION II: 6-7 pm, NY time - aimed at continuing PT MS students, but all
[In July, we will be doing similar sessions for other cohorts, including MA
students and international students, as well as one hosted by the Career
In order to be as useful as possible, the transcript has been lightly edited for style, grammar, punctuation and clarity, and to put similar topics together. Added to the end are answers to some questions we have received via e-mail.
sree sreenivasan: Good afternoon, everyone (or good evening, good night, good
morning, etc)… It’s 1:03 in New York. Dean Sreenivasan here in 705. Dean Huff is on vacation, but is joining us from a secret location. I am also joined in person in my office by
incoming student Bartram Nason, a professional cellist from Atlanta who
happened to be in town. Be sure to have your FCG (Fall Curriculum Guide) handy…
sree sreenivasan: If I put a … at the end of my note, that means I
have more coming. If I end with a period, I am done.
sree sreenivasan: So, let’s get started. First question, please.
Teal Anderson: i’ve had a difficult time ranking my selections for both RWI and
my masters project…the student evaluations haven’t seemed to be all that
sree sreenivasan: The Fall evaluationsaren’t as in-depth as they are
for the Spring because they were on a different system. Now they are
all anonymous, which should make for more candor and more in-depth
sree sreenivasan: As you know, we switched to a new system this spring. It took
several years to make that happen.
BROADCAST & NEW MEDIA CURRICULUM:
Brett Elliott: Hello Deans: according the guide, it looks like for incoming
broadcast concentrators, our first term curriculum pretty much already set
aside from the potential addition of a skills class. is this correct?
Adam Edelman: If I may add, it seems that way for New Media also (for first
semester at least)
sree sreenivasan: Brett, Adam: Yes, you are essentially correct….
sree sreenivasan: You will have plenty of choices in the Spring.
Lionel Laurent: My question is: can the masters project be in any format? Or
are we restricted by our choice of concentration?
sree sreenivasan: Good question…
sree sreenivasan: Most of the MPs are done in print (and that’s the default for
everyone). Broadcast majors can request and compete to do a video or radio MP.
NM students can compete to do a NM project.
sree sreenivasan: We will explain the “compete” part when you get here.
Bartram Nason: Can you give us an example of a NM project completed in the
sree sreenivasan: http://www.rezoned2006.com - a great project this spring - and the only one with a domain name that’s easy to remember! Here are the rest:
Rubina Madan:do most students do the bulk of their work on the master’s
project over winter break? should we plan to stay in NYC during that time?
sree sreenivasan: You are expected to finish all principal reporting
AND turn in a first draft by the end of winter “break”… so that means you
will be doing a lot of work during the so-called break, which ends the Monday after Martin Luther King Day (Jan. 15, 2007). Most people do leave town between Christmas and New Year, and return to start working on their MPs by Jan 2/3ish.
Bartram Nason:for master’s projects, if collaborating (for NM or broadcast)
when do we need to have a group together?
sree sreenivasan:Radio and print projects are solo. NM and video are two and three,
respectively. We will help you get a group together in the Fall.
Aggelos Petropoulos:Does that go for the Stabile Broadcast projects as well,
or is it possible to do something indipendently?
Melanie Huff:All broadcast students, including Stabile, must work in teams for
TV and NM projects.
Brett Elliott: Do the Skills classes occur throughout the term, or all at
the same time?
Melanie Huff: The Skills classes run for several five week sessions throughout
the term. See the schedule >>>here< <<.
Rubina Madan:will the Skills professors be the same ones who taught the
courses last year?
Melanie Huff:Some of the skills professors will be the same and some will not.
Teri Berg:I noticed on the student evaluations of the new media skills classes that there were lots of negative comments about instructors and course organization, etc. Knowing that my learning style is best when I get more than just verbal stuff, I'm concerned about how much these courses will be improved.
Melanie Huff:The New Media Skills classes are being completely overhauled for this
sree sreenivasan: All the Skills professors are aware of their reviews and are working on any problems raised last Fall.
HOLIDAYS & MISSING CLASSES:
Chris Brouwer: hi deans -- this is not an ideal academics question, but there's
a chance I might have to miss a few days of classes before Thanksgiving. Would
this be possible at that point in the semester?
Melanie Huff: Hi All - Dean Huff here. No, it is not possible to take
off a few days before. Classes scheduled for that Wednesday night will
sree sreenivasan: A quick note: the j-school has the fewest holidays of any
school on campus (and the shortest master's program, too).
Melanie Huff:For the most part, internships are done in the spring only. In
rare instances, we will approve someone to do an internship in the fall...
Melanie Huff:We only do this after getting feedback from your RWI professor
about your performance and whether you can handle the extra work.
Melanie Huff:For internship questions, please contact Ernest Sotomayor at
Teal Anderson: is there an academic calendar for the j-school available? last i
looked, there was only one available online from last year
Rubina Madan: Teal, I think the 2006-2007 is online now
Irene Jay Liu: I had two questions about the Stabiile major:
When will the new Stabile professor be announced? And will we have the
opportunity to choose who we want to work with (between the Stabile professor
and Professor Barrett), or will we be automatically assigned to one or the
other? Also, do we have the option to take the Investigative Techniques course
in the fall (it is listed on our ballot) if we want to take another elective in
Melanie Huff: We will be giving out the name of the
professor in charge of the program as soon as the University paperwork is
complete. Students will be automatically assigned to either this professor or
Prof. Barrett for the MP. In the fall semester, you take the elective you
ballot for. In the spring, you must take the investigative workshop and
BUYING A COMPUTER:
Adam Edelman:Hey Deans, I bought my current laptop 4 years ago, upon entering
undergrad studies. But now, of course, it is outdated, do you recommend buying
a new laptop now (for this year?) or will that not make any sense considernig I
might have to upgrade upon entering the workforce? (And what kind -mac/pc-
would you recommend for the J-School)?
sree sreenivasan:You will need to be able, at a minimum to do e-mail, word processing and web surfing from home, so that's what you definitely need. For more advanced stuff, you might want to wait and see what you really need before spending the money.
Bartram Nason: Apple offers student discounts, as do a number of other computer manufacturers.
sree sreenivasan:Here is the DOS blog on academic discounts:
Also see CUIT info on sales:
http://www.columbia.edu/acis/sales/. Separately, see some of the software, including anti-virus protection that Columbia gives you access to: http://www.columbia.edu/acis/software/.
Aggelos Petropoulos: Is it possible to enroll in language or other courses beyond the 19 credits?
Melanie Huff:Any full-time student who takes more than 19 points gets charged a per point tuition rate for each additional point. Also, it can be difficult to find language classes that don’t conflict with our schedule. That said, some students do take a language class in lieu of an elective in the second semester. But that’s on a case by case basis.
Charlene Dy: What will the time commitment be like per week outside of classroom hours?
sree sreenivasan: You will see that only a small percentage of your time commitment will be in formal class sessions. You will spend hours and hours street reporting, computer research, doing interviews and traveling around the cityThat’s why it’s very hard to do internships or outside work, especially in the Fall.
Don Duncan: Beyond the core bumper RWI, master’s project, crit issues in j and
journalism, the law and society, from where can broadcasters select extra
Melanie Huff: Broadcast students can try to take an additional skills class.
However, everything else is covered by the classes you listed. There isn’t time
for anything else.
Don Duncan:are broaedcasters expected to choose between TV and radio at any
point during RW?
Melanie Huff:No, Brodcast students don’t have to make a choice of radio vs. TV
in RWI. The choices you make will be in the spring ballot for radio or TV
classes. And for doing a radio or TV MP.
Brett Elliott: So if we would like to do a TV masters project, we should make sure that our advisor has that medium listed? (there seem to be only a couple).
Melanie Huff: Yes, that’s correct.
Brett Elliott:are broadcasters given priority for coumbia nightly news?
Melanie Huff:Only broadcast students can take Nightly News.
Don Duncan: for international students, is there any way they can sit in on
journalism, law and society class?
Melanie Huff: No, because it meets at the same time as the NY as a Foreign
Chris Brouwer:Is it possible for international students to have the NY as a
Foreign Country Class waived? (I’ve lived in New York for several years)
Melanie Huff: Aynone who has lived in NY or the US for several years can request a waiver
for the international class. You may do so during Add/Drop.
COLUMBIA NEWS SERVICE:
Adam Edelman:Do print concentrators have preference for getting into CNS?
Melanie Huff:Newspaper concentration students are given preference for CNS.
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SOME QUESTIONS THAT CAME IN VIA E-MAIL:
Q: In looking through the ballot, I just saw that my concentration has been listed as “Newspaper” while I enrolled for “Magazine”. I hope to get into electives that are, I think, geared more towards magazine writing and would like to know if being listed as “Newspaper” will make this more difficult. How can I correct my concentration?
A: For fall classes, newspaper and magazine students are the same, so
you may simply complete the print ballot. We will get your concentration corrected before second semester balloting begins.
Q: I am having trouble viewing other semester’s evaluations for professors.
A: There are two systems. One is Fall 2003-Fall 2005; in it are buttons to switch semesters. The other system only contains Spring 2006 and has no buttons for semester switches.
Q: Please consider this a formal request to switch my concentration from magazine to new media. hat I’m wondering is: If the change goes through, will my ballot —
filed for Print — be invalidated, and will I be assigned a random schedule?
A: For now, please complete a print ballot. Should we be able to take
you off of the wait list, we will contact you about those ballot questions. Same goes for print to broadcast switches.
Q: Can we take more than one skills class if it fits in our
A: Yes, you can take more than one skills class, if it fits and if we have space. Additional skills classes may be sought during Add/Drop.
Q: When will we hear about what classes we got?
A: You will be notifed in late July about how to find your fall schedule online.
Q: I have been impressed by the New Media master’s projects I have seen, but the student evaluations have been less encouraging. A couple mentioned the need for more
training, particularly in Flash, and more faculty/faculty assistance.
A: This Spring, we had the best crop of NM MPs and the students really pushed the envelope in ways we didn’t anticipate (which is overall a good thing). As a result of the feedback, we are revising the NM MP process, incorporating more training in Flash and other skill sets and building in more adjunct assistance. We have even higher hopes for the quality of the 2007 projects.