Here's What's Unique About Journalism at PHC

Posted by Patrick Henry College on 6/25/19 3:45 PM


If you just wanted to learn how to write—how to have good sentence structure, or how to write an article—you could honestly go to a lot of different schools. But if you major in Journalism at Patrick Henry College, you’ll learn that working in news is about more than just catchy headlines and organizing words well. Of course you’ll learn about the mechanics of writing, but that’s only the beginning.

So, what’s unique about Patrick Henry College’s journalism program?

Dr. Les Sillars, our program director, believes that good journalism is centered around critical thinking and an enriched mind. It’s something he constantly emphasizes in class by quoting James 3:6.

“How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.” Sillars usually then follows it up with: “And sometimes, I feel like I’m teaching my students to play with matches.”

He’s only half joking. Words are powerful—and there’s a degree of responsibility that comes with using them for a living.

Here’s two responsibilities PHC will teach you about in journalism:

Seeing the World Clearly

The first part of journalism is observation and understanding. You have to be able to think critically about what’s happening around you and ask important questions. What’s the context of your story and what does it mean? There’s always a bigger picture—even if you’re just writing about potholes. Dr. Sillars believes that in order to see that picture, you have to be more than just a writer; you also have to be a political philosopher and a social commentator. That’s why, if you take Journalism at PHC, you’ll learn about the metaphysics in philosophy and social contract theory in Freedoms Foundations. Part of being a good journalist is about understanding and recognizing the world around you. 

Telling True Stories

Communicative writing is hard and it takes practice, especially if you intend to do it truthfully. It’s easy to think that your audience will take away exactly what you want them to know. That isn’t always true and sloppy writing can often be misleading. It takes an experienced writer to be able to communicate effectively. Fortunately, through classes, student publications, and internships, the PHC Journalism program ensures that its students learn how to communicate efficiently and effectively. Our journalism program makes full use of PHC’s excellence mentality and applies to the pragmatic elements of writing.

In the process of turning today's students into tomorrow’s writers, PHC will first provide its journalism students a framework on how to think critically and then give them the tools and the opportunities to hone their skills.


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