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The Daily Tar Heel

Hussman School terminates business journalism degree, returns it to certificate program

carroll hall
Photo originally taken in 2018. The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting is coming to UNC's MJ-school in hopes to diversify the journalism field.

UNC has more than 30,000 students, close to 3,900 faculty, over 800 student organizations — and now, one fewer major.  

At its last faculty meeting, the Hussman School of Journalism and Media decided to discontinue the business journalism major at UNC. The major was a dual program that incorporated classes from both the journalism school and the business school. Once available to students as a degree, it will now return to being a certificate program, as it was originally established. 

“The way it was laid out back in the day is not something we could sustain,” said Charlie Tuggle, the senior associate dean for Undergraduate Studies at Hussman. “We reached out to Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and several other newspaper companies to ask their opinions on whether we should continue business journalism as a major.” 

Tuggle said transforming the business journalism major into a certificate that requires classes solely in the journalism school, rather than incorporating the business school and its curriculum, could benefit students. Previously, students took a variety of courses in the business school, journalism school and other departments to fulfill the major's requirements. 

“The classes on our side, along with some new ones we have put on the books since business journalism was approved, would be a better mix,” Tuggle said. “We are going to encourage our business journalism certificate students to minor in the business school.” 

Not everyone is sure that getting rid of the major is the best course of action. 

Chris Roush was the director of the program until he left last June to take a deanship position at Quinnipiac University. Roush said he was concerned the termination of this major would lower the quality of education offered at UNC for students interested in this category of journalism.  

"The best business journalism programs in the country such as Columbia and Washington and Lee require students to take classes in the business school as part of the major,” said Roush, “UNC business journalism students will no longer be able to say they will have the same education." 

Grace Pitney, a first-year at UNC who was planning to major in business journalism, said the major sparked her interest because it intertwined skills from differing domains. 

“I’ve always loved writing and I wanted to combine that passion with my growing interest in business affairs,” Pitney said. “The MEJO school doesn’t seem to have too many specialization majors, and I feel like it should have more specified fields of study within journalism.”

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