Outside the School of Journalism Newsroom in the Melville Library. With classes transitioning to an online-only format beginning March 23, students are still not exactly sure how their class’s structure will look like going online. COURTESY OF STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY

The School of Journalism (SoJ) sent students a curriculum-update on March 11, about 40 minutes after Stony Brook University officially announced that it would be moving classes online.

In an email sent to journalism students, SoJ Dean, Laura Lindenfeld, addressed various concerns journalism students have had since the announcement of the university transitioning to online-only format beginning March 23 to the end of the Spring 2020 Semester.

Since most journalism courses require students to go out and report, they are still not exactly sure how their class’s structure will look like going online.

“All of your professors will be sending you updated course syllabi to help you understand and adapt to updated course requirements,” Lindenfeld wrote in the email.

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There are production courses in the upper-division of SoJ that will be difficult to transition online since they require recording and editing time in the studio. These courses also require the rental of equipment such as cameras, microphones and tripods.

“We are working on a strategy that will enable you to participate using free software and your smartphones from wherever you are,” Lindenfeld wrote. “We are ordering lavalier microphones that work with your smartphones so you can continue to report.”

A second email sent by the SoJ Technology Manager, Phil Altiere, on March 12, addressed newsroom access — which is essential for most journalism students. The newsroom is equipped with the Mars Drive, a server that houses all work journalism students have done for broadcast/audio courses, a sound booth and computers with the Adobe suite.

“The newsroom will only be available until March 30th for you to get any current material off the Mars drive and to finish up on current assignments,” Altiere wrote in the email. “After that, the Newsroom will be closed for the remainder of the semester.”

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Altiere also wrote that the equipment room, where journalism students can sign out cameras and other equipment, will be closed after March 13.

“If you will be using your smartphone for video and audio assignments, we will supply you with lavalier microphones… You can pick these up on Friday and return by April 28,” he said in the email.

The campus bureau for WSHU, a local National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate that employs several journalism students as interns, will also be going remote.

Student advising, which is a particular concern this semester since SoJ is implementing a new curriculum next year, will continue over email and scheduled Zoom or phone calls.

The school will be hosting virtual information sessions after spring break to discuss curriculum changes.

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“Journalism — like life — is about adapting to change,” Irene Virag, professor and adviser in the journalism school, wrote in a third email. “We have faith in your intelligence, your resilience, your ambition, your talent and your future. Take a deep breath during spring break and try to regain your equilibrium.”

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