Registration….Big Frustration

I know, I know–registering for Spring 2011 classes can be EXTREMELY frustrating. First there’s the hurry-up-and-wait factor: though you know what classes you want and need, you can’t sign up until it’s your turn. By then, classes may be filled up. And getting help can be nearly impossible. Professor and advisors seem to never be around when you need them. Plus, you’ve still got to get through the rest of the fall.

You’re in the thick of it, and I feel your pain. And I know that many of you have had trouble getting the journalism classes you want. When you try and sign up for Introduction to Journalism, Reporting and Writing or Radio Journalism–all required for the journalism minor–you’re told you need a pre-requisite or the instructor’s permission. Yet, you’re taking the required class right now and doing fine in it, thank you very much. 

Many apologies for the trouble. I mean it. I know saying “computer error” sounds like “dog ate my homework” but that’s what it is. And I can’t fix it. You’ll need to speak to an advisor like Professor Appelbaum or contact Vivian Nilsson ( for assistance. I know you want to slap somebody right now, but be patient; it’ll all be okay.

In the meantime, here’s an idea what my classes will be like next semester. For complete information about the CCNY journalism program, check our website.

MCA 101: Introduction to Media Studies

This is the gateway course to both the Media Communication Arts department and to the journalism minor. It is designed to offer a broad overview of the different media–newspapers, books, magazines, radio, television, movies, recordings and the internet–and also looks at marketing, advertising and public relations. A number of professors teach this course, each in our own way.  Because my background is in journalism, that’s what I focus on. But not exclusively. In areas where I have less experience, I bring in guest speakers. Some include:

Rose Arce, CNN senior producer; Andrea Bernstein, WNYC political editor; James Bernard, founder of The Source and XXL magazines; documentary filmmaker Jennifer Callahan; a music publicist who works the college market; a marketing expert whose main client is the Alvin Ailey Dance Company–and so on. In this class, we watch movies and commercials and do marketing and advertising projects and exercises. I also focus heavily on writing and grammar, which is critically important in all areas of the media business.

MCA 233: Introduction to Journalism

This is a nuts and bolts class which looks at the basics of journalism. Two of us teach sections of this class–myself and the very distinguished, award winning television journalist David Diaz. Students learn how to think like a journalist and write like a pro. You’ll cover press conferences and sports events and write news pieces, opinion stories, reviews and profiles. It’s a writing boot camp of sorts with lots of short assignments. But it’s not just a print class–we’ve also taken photographs, produced videos, slide shows and podcasts. And everyone has to create a blog. Guest speakers have included senior writers from both Self and Essence magazines and CCNY alumn Jerry Eskenazi, who spent 40 years as a New York Times sports reporter.

MCA 333: Reporting and Writing

In this collaborative workshop class, you’ll be part of the staff of reporters and photographers that provides content for the website of The Campus newspaper. Being a time player who meets deadlines is key. You’ll file stories like a “real” journalist…which you will be. In this class you’ll pitch ideas and write at least a story a week.

Good luck! And stay calm…..