Allow me to set the scene: an end-of-the-year faculty meeting, a discussion of that most soul-sucking of documents -- the college's strategic plan. Seven themes, we don't talk about at all. Instead, we spend 10 or so minutes talking about whether we should talk about the strategic plan (honest to God), and another 35 minutes or so talking about the preface (or mission statement, or visionquest, or whatever the hell that 1980s era Breakfast Club crap is that you put at the beginning of a strategic plan).
Yes, 35 or so minutes on whether we should take out the word journalism from the mission statement because, oh my god, we didn't mention all the other majors or specialties or departments or cousins or pets.
Head, striking desk. Repeat as needed.
We didn't even talk about the actual content of the plan. We talked about a whether the mission statement should say "journalism, media and communications" or some such stuff, and whether we should take journalism out since we didn't mention public relations or advertising or our other perfectly fine and acceptable and quite good majors.
Lemme help you out folks. Henry W. Grady, he wasn't a PR guy.
Ya see, we're formally the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication -- a fine name, one ripe with history and a sense of truth and social justice. And yet there's a move out there, bet money on it, to change our name to some awful combination of words that signify both meaninglessness and bad writing and a surrender to the popularity of majors rather than the role in democracy.
So in this spirit of assistance, I have my own suggestions for a new name. They follow, with a few comments.
- College of Hacks and Flacks. I like this one. It reads well, flows nicely, rhymes, but excludes our friends in advertising and, I suppose, some in Telecom.
- College of Integrated Communications. Just shoot me now with a sharpened paperclip, because this is bureaucratic hell.
- College of Media and Communication. This has the advantage of being meaningless and soulless and an example of just plain bad writing.
- College of Informing, Persuading, and Entertaining. Okay, this really gets at our mission (which we could have put in the awful mission statement instead of journalism, etc., but I have a paralyzed vocal cord caused by thyroid cancer and can't easily speak to suggest it). That said, it's a terrible name for a school. Too bad.
- College of Public Relations. Because, let's face it, the world needs more PR people (and lawyers). Plus it has to be our most popular major. I teach a lot of PR students. They're terrific. But no.
- College of Journalism. Why not? It used to be the Grady School of Journalism, so in honor of our centennial it's a good idea to, for a year, change the name back to one with historical significance.
It's a fun game. Offer your own suggestions, but for me it's simple:
It'll Always Be
Yes, I'm getting mugs and T-shirts made with that slogan because I'm an annoying person.