October 17, 2019

Changing Fields, Changing Notes

Music is constantly evolving. But I shouldn’t have to tell you that. The evolution of genres is something we hear about daily on the radio and in media. Journalists interested in the topic tackle these various updates by writing for specialized magazines or music websites. This way, readers are updated to the minute. But journalists interested in music don’t currently have a place at Webster University.

Music journalism is a different arena. Not only do music journalists have to deal with the changing journalism world, they also deal with the changing music world. Music journalism has a large focus on conflict of interest, as writers have to meet with bands in tour buses, parties and/or venues for interviews. They also have to go to shows, which are their own unique environment altogether. Between interacting with bands, concerts and the touring lifestyle, the music scene is another world. Students would benefit from a class that teaches them how to balance the worlds of conventional journalism and music journalism. The class would also help students write an informative story.

The fact of the matter is Webster University is a liberal arts college. We have students who come here from all over the United States because we have such an artistic campus. This campus thrives off the creative minds of its students. And music is a big part of that. With all the music education that takes place here, someone has to keep the public informed with more than a basic event piece.

Yet, Webster offers courses to benefit other more specific types of journalism. Students can take classes in sports reporting, global journalism, and even outdoor/nature journalism. With all of these choices available, what are writers interested in music supposed to do? For a journalist in this position, such as myself, it involves a lot of blogging and research to teach myself that balance. I don’t believe these are the best ways to learn those techniques.

Staffordshire University in Staffordshire, England, offers a three-year degree in music journalism, equal to a four-year bachelor’s degree in the United States. According to the university’s description of the major, “there is an ever-growing number of general and niche music magazines and music sections and supplements in newspapers.” Staffordshire is preparing students to thrive between industries. Students who want to take this path need a niche education to survive in these outlets.

But you may ask, “Alex, who would teach such a class at Webster?” Well, it’s simple. This campus offers music history classes in rock ‘n’ roll, guitar and other differing topics.  Believe it or not, some of these teachers are music journalists. One in particular was an adjunct teacher named Daniel Durchholz, a freelance writer for the Riverfront Times and various other publications. Teachers such as Durchholz would already be qualified to teach a class, which would help aspiring music journalists.

I know a big argument is that the music industry is dying. So why set these writers to fail? To that, I say music will always exist. No matter what evolution it goes through, music will always be rampant in our lives. And where there is new music, there are journalists working nearby.

Journalists on this campus are being prepared for the news world — now let’s prepare the music enthusiasts.

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