Below is a transcript of the two July 7 chats. About 45 students participated in at least part of the first hour and then about 18 participated in at least parts of the second hour later that day.
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. We have also combined both sessions into one transcript.
sree sreenivasan:Good afternoon, everyone (or good evening, good night,
goodmorning, etc). It.s 1:03 p.m. in New York. Dean Sreenivasan here in 705. Dean
Huff is on vacation, but is joining us from a secret location…
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.
Melanie Huff:Hi All!
sree sreenivasan:We are ready to begin…
sree sreenivasan:Before we take your questions, some housekeeping based on questions we have already fielded…
sree sreenivasan:1. If you write to firstname.lastname@example.org, please include your
name, concentration and a phone number.
2. The best way to find people in the university is to call
the main number: 212-854-1754. That’s the year Columbia was founded. The operators can connect you with any faculty member or office in the university.
3. Sorry some of you are still having tech troubles with the
fall 2005 evaluations. best advice is to try a diff. browser or computer and to
log on after midnight or before 6 am Eastern time.
sree sreenivasan:Now, we are ready for questions. One at a time, please.
Guest8980:When does RWIs meet in the classroom, should we worry about any
sections overlapping with our preferred electives?
Melanie Huff:No, the electives are all scheduled so that they will not conflict with RWI.
Coleman Cowan:Is the Friday Journalism, the Law and Society class taught in
three separate sections or do Blasi, Lewis, and Abrams tag team onteaching one
section throughout the semester? If there are threeseparate sections, is there
a way we can indicate an adjunctprofessor preference?
Melanie Huff:Sorry about the confusion. It is one class taught by all three of these professors…
Melanie Huff:The primary professor is Vincent Blasi.
Gabrielle:Has the deadline passed to apply for Judith Christ’s class?
Melanie Huff:No, you have until Monday, at 10 a.m.
Guest8365:Can non-Broadcast concentrators chose a Broadcast Master’s Project?
Melanie Huff:No. Unless you have extensive TV or radio experience.
Ken Millstone:Even with the (frustrating) evaluation system, I dont feel like
I have a lot to go on in choosing an MP advisor. How easy/common is it to
change advisors later on?
Melanie Huff:For MP advisers, the best system is the new system for whic h
there are no problems….
Melanie Huff:You can try to make changes during add/drop too.
Guest8365:Can I do both a spring Documentary Workshop and a TV Master’s Project?
Melanie Huff:You cannot do both the documentary workshop and a TV project.
Guest8365:Past the add/drop period, you cannot change MP advisers?
Melanie Huff:It is very difficult to change after add/drop, but it is not
Michael Dang:Are there any examples of print MPs available to take a look at?
Journalism Librarian, Deborah Wasserzug, who blogs at sent in this answer:
Print Master’s projects for the most recent 5 years are available to read at the Journalism Library (2006 projects should be available by early August). TV projects and radio projects may also be borrowed overnight from the library. Some radio projects also may be heard online, at
You can see the new media projects at http://columbiajournalist.org/masters_projects/2005/index.asp?course=masters_projects.
MA Theses for the 2006 class are also available to read at the Journalism
Library (again, should be available by early August).
Guest8946:how important is it to specify a master’s project topic at this
stage? If we don’t specify a topic, does that make us less likely to get our
choice of instructor for the master’s project?
Melanie Huff:It is not important that you have a topic in mind at this
Melanie Huff:It does not make you more or less likely to get your top choice
for your adviser.
Guest374:Should our master’s project topics be stories we’ve seen reported and
want to research further or unreported stories we should find and want to
Melanie Huff:You and your adviser will discuss the merits of different ideas.
Guest2592:Master’s project: can we choose a broad topic and get the advisor’s
help in narrowing it down?
Melanie Huff:Yes, it is the adviser’s job to help you refine and narrow your
Yasmina Hatem:when will we know our schedules and assigned advisors?
Melanie Huff:You will be given instructions on how to access your schedule
online in a few weeks…
Melanie Huff:It will probably be a few weeks after that for the MP adviser
Rebecca Kaufman:If we are in broadcast so taking a skills class is extra, is
it better to sign up for it now and drop it later if it seems like too much?
Melanie Huff:Broadcast students take Television News Writing as their skills
Melanie Huff:To take an additional skills class, you will need to apply during
the add/drop period.
Guest8365:What classes are required for a Broadcast concentration SPRING
Melanie Huff:All that you have to take in the spring as a broadcast student…
Melanie Huff:is a broadcast workshop.
Yasmina Hatem:when can broadcast students choose skills class? They never
appeared on my ballot
Melanie Huff:Broadcast students are automatically registered for Television
News Writing as their skills class….
Melanie Huff:If they want to take an additional skills class, they can try to
add one during add/drop.
Rebecca Kaufman: what should broadcast students who begin two weeks early expect
to be doing those two weeks?
Melanie Huff:The broadcast students will be doing training on AVID, ProTools
and broadcast reporting basics.
Guest9197:when assigning us our rwI professors do you try and match their
concentration with ours?
Melanie Huff:Broadcast students will get put into broadcast RWI classes….
Melanie Huff:For the rest, we are trying to get you into the classes you
requested on the ballots.
Guest8365:Apparent in all broadcast evaluations was the dissatisfaction with
studio/recording/editing equipment. What kind of attention/updates have been
made towards the technical equipment?
Melanie Huff:All the television equipment is brand new as of January 2006….
Melanie Huff:We are working on the radio systems now.
Guest1487:broadcast students are supposed to meet 9 am august 7 — where are
Melanie HUFF: Lecture Hall.
Gabrielle:And for broadcast majors, will it be necessary to edit on our
personal computers, say through Final Cut express and programs similar to this,
or will we have the opp to do all our editing in the broadcast lab?
Melanie Huff:You will meet in the Lecture Hall.
Melanie Huff:You have to work with AVID here at the school…
Melanie Huff:You will br able to do some personal editing using Final Cut on
Melanie Huff:but work for class will be done at school.
Guest9197:I’m a bit confused regarding outside work. On the one hand i was
told that the curriculum would take up the majority of our time, but i also
recently received an email about internship opportunities…should we be
looking for internships and work to help offset the cost?
Melanie Huff:Most students find that they do not have the time to do an
Melanie Huff:However, some students are able to find ones that will fit in
Melanie Huff:They rarely are paid so should not be seen as money makers…
Melanie Huff:Those that do internships generally do them only in the spring
Guest8980:What is RW1 like from orientation until the “staggered schedule”
begins in September?
sree sreenivasan:Lots of work on basic reporting, structure, writing + getting
you upto speed on covering NYC + lots of speakers and panels.
RWI BEAT SYSTEM
Guest9197:how is it decided who covers what parts of NYC or does it rotate?
sree sreenivasan:In RWI, we work on a neighborhood “beat” system…
sree sreenivasan:Each RWI prof has a different way of assigning beats and
sree sreenivasan:Some allow you to pick, others assign them directly, some
have a lottery system…
sree sreenivasan:You will be spending a lot of time in your beat, getting to
know the locals…
sree sreenivasan:That’s when you will have that “I am glad I read the Power
Neha Singh:Does Dean Sreenivasan’s earlier comment about students being sent
to more neighborhoods mean that new neighborhoods are being added to the usual
beats in the Bronx?
sree sreenivasan:Depending on your prof, you could be in any of the boroughs,
though every few do Staten Island because of the distance…
sree sreenivasan:It’s best to familiarize yourself with Brooklyn, Queens and
the Bronx as much as possible…
sree sreenivasan:Only a few parts of Manhattan are ever covered…
sree sreenivasan:We try to stay out of, say, the Upper East Side and Upper
West Side, which are not nearly as interesting as, say, the Lower East Side….
sree sreenivasan:So the short answer is to do as much reading as possible…
sree sreenivasan:Here are some local resources for you to know about…
sree sreenivasan:GothamGazette.com, Gothamist.com, Curbed.com…
sree sreenivasan:Be sure to read ColumbiaJournalist.org in detail…
sree sreenivasan:That’s the site on which we publish the best RWI articles in
the fall (and other articles throughout the year)…
sree sreenivasan:It’s a great way to learn about what gets covered in the
school and to see good work.
Guest1487:for the beats…are you in pairs or by yourself?
Melanie Huff: For the most part, you are by yourself. However, it does
depend on the RWI prof.
Guest8365:Even for broadcast RWI, when we’re out with equipment?
Melanie Huff:Good question ….
Melanie Huff:In the broadcast classes, you will be sent out in teams for
Guest9543:How responsive are local officials to the Columbia students on their
beats? Is there any feeling that we are not “real” journalists bbecause we are
not getting paid or with a traditional media outlet?
sreenivasan:RESPONSIVENESS: Yes, it’s an issue… But we are working to spread
out strudents to more neighborhoods…
sree sreenivasan:So one thing you can do for yourself is to try to get a
neighborhood off the popular track…
sree sreenivasan:The fewer the reporters there (including Columbia ones)…
sree sreenivasan:the better your chances for getting access.
Guest9197:are the beats limited to nyc? or do they extend to the greater metro
area i.e. NJ long island westchester etc.?
sree sreenivasan:It’s almost always the five boroughs, but on occasion, a
prof. will allow a NEARBY location like you describe…
sree sreenivasan:Remember, you might have to travel to the beat and come back
to school more than once in a day…
sree sreenivasan:So LI, Westchester, etc., are tough.
Andrew Goldberg:Would you be able to tell me approximately what percentage of
time FT students spend in class at the j-school vs. in the field reporting and
at home writing? I’m currently living in midtown east and trying to decide
whether it makes more sense to move closer to Columbia.
sree sreenivasan:Tough to say… Depends on your prof, the beat, etc…
sree sreenivasan:But it’s safe to say that at least 30-40 percent of your time
is outside the school, on the beat, talking to people, going through public
records, etc, Hope that helps.
sree sreenivasan:Best to be as close as possible to a #1 train… But not
mandatory, of course. Spend time on Hopstop.com or PublicRoutes.com to learn more about
distances in the city.
Guest9543:As for the electives, I’m interested in a lot of the RWIIs. How does
the spring schedule allow for another chance to take these electives?
Melanie Huff:In the spring semester, we offer electives and some seminars are
many of these same topics….
Melanie Huff:In the spring, you must take one elective…
Melanie Huff:and one seminar…..
Melanie Huff:so you get to take several things of interest.
Guest8980:The RWIIs are 10 weeks, do they begin right away after orientation?
Melanie Huff:The RWIIs begin the week of September 11 and run for 10 weeks.
Gabrielle:To piggyback off an earlier question, on average, how many electives
will we have the opportunity to take this year and will many of the very same
ones be offered in the spring?
Melanie Huff:Non-broadcast students will take two electives…
Melanie Huff:Most of the fall ones are offered again in the spring….
Melanie Huff:Those that aren’t are usually offered as more intenstive, seminar
Melanie Huff:Everybody most take one seminar to graduated.
Jessica Troiano:If we want to sign up for one elective, should we list a third
choice? Or will 2 be sufficient?
Melanie Huff:Jessica, you should rank all six…
Melanie Huff:you aren’t signing up for a class, but rather ranking them in
order of interest…
Melanie Huff:we cannot promise anyuone will get their first, second or third
Sree Sreenivasan: See the current Skills schedule:
Guest8946:How many skills courses is it typical to take in the fall? Is there
any way for us to tell whether / which of the skills courses overlap in their 5
Melanie Huff:Most students take only one skills class in the fall unless they
are required to take more (Stabile)…
Sree sreenivasan: This 2006 Fall Skills Schedule is tentative for now, but
should give you and idea of the timings.
Jason Del Rey:How often do recruiters visit the J-school?
Melanie Huff:Ernest Sotomayor, director of career services….
Melanie Huff:is hosting a chat like this on Monday at 1 p.m. for these
Cissy Rebich:About the skills classes: Are they 5 weeks long? In particular,
radio skills this fall.
Melanie Huff:All skills classes run for 5 weeks.
Guest2807:I’m pitching my master’s project to a cable show, so far I’m a print
major. Can I take writing for television (for broadcast students)?
Melanie Huff:After add/drop, the only way to change is if there is a serious
problem we need to address.
Melanie Huff:There is a section of Writing for Television for PT broadcast
folks that may be undersubscribed…
Melanie Huff:If so, you can try to add it during add/drop.
Jessica Troiano:Can we choose when we take the skills class? Radio has four
sessions and I think I’d like one of the later ones.
Melanie Huff:For the most part, we just place folks….
Huff:However, for PT students, we will try to get you into the section you
want if we are able to give you that class…
Melanie Huff:Please note in the notes section…
Melanie Huff:of the ballot that you would like a later session.
Kate Brannen:Will it be alright to be out of the city labor day weekend?
Melanie Huff:Many students will have assignments that weekend….
Guest1487:last chat you said students couldn’t miss classes for holidays —
what about religious holidays
Melanie Huff:Students may miss classes for religious holidays…
Melanie Huff:You must inform your professor in advance…
Melanie Huff:and work with him/her to find a way to make up the work.
Gabrielle:When will we start receiving tuition bills and etc?
sree sreenivasan:A transcript will be posted this weekend of this and the 6 pm
Guest9197:shhh dont remind them about tuition
Melanie Huff:You will get your first bill via e-mail on July 25.
Gabrielle:ha ha sorry - just had to doublecheck
Neha Singh:Another question on tuition if we’ve got a moment: What are the
payment options for tuition? Can we pay by credit card?
Robert MacDonald:You need to contact Student Financial Planning. If you need
the numbers please e-mail me. Yes you can use a credit card but there are extra
Christopher Twarowski:Quick question: Is Investigative Techiques required for
Stabile students in the fall or in the spring?
Melanie Huff:Stabile students take Investigative Techniques in the spring…
Melanie Huff:The class is open for everyone else in the fall.
Guest8365:When a class involves a field trip (specifically out of state), what
kind of personal expenses are expected?
sree sreenivasan:There are very few field trips out of NYC…
sree sreenivasan:Some classes, in the past, have gone to DC, Albany, Israel,
India, etc, but they are very few such trips and the expense situation is
explained up front.
COMPUTERS & TECHNOLOGY
Guest1487:do most students use computers or notebooks in class?
Melanie Huff:Students use both…
Guest8365:Are assignment turned in through email or hard copy? Are there
printers/computers available in the J-school for such use?
Melanie Huff:However, students are not allowed to be doing their email or IMs
sree sreenivasan: http://deanstudents.blogsome.com/category/discounts
sree sreenivasan:That’s the link for discounts…
Melanie Huff:Some professors ask that student submit hard copy…
Melanie Huff:and yes there are printers in the building…
Melanie Huff:However, alot of professors ask that you submit work via
Melanie Huff:Please note that it can be hard to get to a J-School printer
during crunch times…
Melanie Huff:so it is a good idea to buy a printer.
Guest8365:Good to know–thanks
Cissy Rebich:What’s happening with the student work website? Prof Bearak sent
my story to them in May and it hasn’t appeared because someone quit. Is the
person who posts the stories going to be replaced soon?
Melanie Huff:We are down several tech staff….
Melanie Huff:but we have hired a tech dean who will be staffing up shortly.
Andrew Goldberg:I’m going to be concentrating in print, but I’d really like to
take the Issues in Online News elective. Can I put that down as my first choice
or do I have to wait till the Add/Drop period to try to pick it up?
Melanie Huff:There is no room in this class at the moment…
Melanie Huff:for anyone but new media students…
Melanie Huff:but you may try to add it during add/drop.
sree sreenivasan:For those who want new media without concentrating in it, the
NM Skills class is a great way to go.
sree sreenivasan:Basic skills is open to everyone. Can’t you just take that?
Guest4288:As an NM, is it possible to take photo skills in the Fall?
Melanie Huff:If you are a FT, NM student, you will automatically be enrolled
in advanced new media skills for the fall….
Melanie Huff:If you want to also do photo skills, you can try to add it during
Guest2818:if you take a workshop out of your concentration does that
automatically change your concentration..
Melanie Huff:Yes, if you take a workshop outside of your concentration, it
changes your concentration to that of the workshop…
Melanie Huff:please note that concentrations do not appear on your diploma…
Melanie Huff:or transcript. They are internal designations only.
Guest5314:Not an academic question, sorry: Is the Columbia Health Insurance a
mandatory requirement, or can I bring another insurance?
Melanie Huff:FT students are automaically enrolled in CU health insurance….
Melanie Huff:However, you can go to their website, and request a waiver to use
your own insurance…
You will have to prove that it is as comprehensive as CU’s…
All students have to pay the health services fee.
Andrew Goldberg:When does the health coverage start?
Melanie Huff:For FT students, it starts on August 1
Mark Wellborn:I’m wondering what steps we have to take to confirm that we’re
enrolled - I checked on the Chickering website on Monday, and they didn’t have
a record for me.
Melanie Huff:You have to check with the Health Services folks directly.
Cissy Rebich:Do PT Broadcast students ever take more than one skills class?
I’m interested in both radio & TV. Will there be time to take both skills
Melanie Huff:Most PT folks take more than one skills class while enrolled…
Melanie Huff:PT broadcast students also get to take the radio class for free.
Cissy Rebich:Free sounds good to me, thanks.
Guest2855:so sree how are the critical issues classes different?
sree sreenivasan:Here’s how…
sree sreenivasan:In the Fall, we have two Critical Issues classes. One only
for PTers and another mainly for FTers, but one that PTers can ask for it.
sree sreenivasan:The PT one is at night, the other is Fridays at 12:30…
sree sreenivasan:The PT only one is smaller, while the other has 200+ students
David Cohn:How flexible is the add/drop period for PTs that are figuring out
their work schedule?
Melanie Huff:However, this is generally not done…
Melanie Huff:since you need six points for the student loans.
Melanie Huff:All add/drop requests….
Melanie Huff:are handled on a first-come, first-served basis.
Guest2855:is there a new investiagive skills class? tell us more is it too
late fore PT’ers
Melanie Huff:The investigative skills class is for those who were accepted to
the School as Stabile fellows.
Guest2807:Is it possible to audit a class if it is outside of your
Melanie Huff:You may audit any class with the professor’s permission….
Melanie Huff:You don’t pay for it, you do no work, and it does not appear on
sree sreenivasan: http://deanstudents.blogsome.com/2005/08/12/audting-procedurefor-auditing-classes/
Cissy Rebich:Have you ever staffed the radio & TV labs with students paid to
help out with the technology? Would the school consider it?
Melanie Huff:Intersting idea Cissy…
Melanie Huff:We will mention it. Not sure any of our folks have the time,
Cissy Rebich:In law school, we had a computer lab staffers who covered most of
the hours the lab was open. Just thinking.
Melanie Huff:Remember, if you submit a ballot and then change your mind about
some element of it, you may submit another one. I will use the one with the
most recent date stamp (before the deadline of course)
sree sreenivasan:Any thing else? We are happy to stay, but don’t want to force
anyone so late on a beautiful Friday afternoon in NYC.
sree sreenivasan:Do send us feedback about this and let us know if you’d like
to see more of ‘em throughout the year.
sree sreenivasan:Ok, anything else, folks? A transcript of this and the
earlier session will go out this weekend.
sree sreenivasan:Please be sure to read the DOS Blog, where it will be posted