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About the School of Journalism and Electronic Media

The Torchbearer

School of Journalism and Electronic Media Bylaws

The School of Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennessee is one of the premier schools in the country, with its graduates employed by some of the most prominent media outlets, from CNN to ESPN and the Discovery Channel, and The Wall Street Journal to Sports Illustrated and The Tennessean.

With state of the art facilities and its own media platforms, the School provides an optimum experience in converged journalism for future leaders in the media and journalism worlds. The School also offers internships with some of the top media platforms, both national and international, and global experiences through its collaborative agreements with journalism schools in Holland, France, and Austria, as well as summer programs in Cyprus and England.

Faculty members of the School have extensive media experience and are some of the most distinguished scholars in the field. They are dedicated to providing an outstanding educational experience to their students.

Our Mission

The School of Journalism & Electronic Media is a community of scholars and creators devoted to the study and teaching of media issues and journalism, and their related processes and technologies. This mission is achieved through excellence in research/creative activities, teaching, and service. The School also shares the values of diversity, international and intercultural awareness, engagement, and other core ideas of the University of Tennessee in the Land Grant tradition.

The School of Journalism & Electronic Media makes a meaningful contribution to the changes occurring in the converging world of media and inculcates students with an appreciation of ethics and professionalism that enhances the quality of the news-gathering and dissemination processes. The School ascertains and serves the needs of students and media organizations.

Diversity Plan and Civility Statement

The School of Journalism & Electronic Media is committed to fostering a vibrant multicultural and multi-ethnic environment that values diversity for achieving an inclusive curriculum, a diverse faculty, and student population, and a supportive climate for working and learning.

This School values domestic and global diversity that serves and reflects the society we live in. JEM defines diversity and inclusion as acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender, age, and sexual orientation, or societal, political, cultural, economic, spiritual, or physical differences.


The School wants to build and maintain a climate that is comfortable for all. In communication, it is especially important that everyone display respect for all and avoid racist, sexist, homophobic or other negative languages that may unnecessarily exclude members of campus and classrooms. This is not an exhaustive list of behaviors; rather, it represents the minimal standards that help make JEM a productive place for all concerned.

History of Journalism and Electronic Media

(Excerpts and information from Paul G. Ashdown, Professor Emeritus)

In 1923, the English department offered a few courses for Journalism for the first time. The courses included instructions on “practical exercises in the writing of the news story, the sport-story, and special feature-articles” and “exercises in headline-writing, criticism, and editorials, together with a study of the mechanics of modern printing.” Then in 1940, we moved to the School of Business which implemented logistics, debentures and nascent consumerism that took precedence. Later in 1946, The Tennessee Press Association requested that the University “expand its offerings in the field of journalism to enable the youth of the state to specialize in this profession.”

Instead of the Department of Journalism, it became the School of Journalism within the College of Business. When television and radio became more relevant in the 1950’s it helped to create the Department of Broadcasting.  Which in turn created the College of Communication and Information. In the year 1968, we began offering graduate courses and by 1970 we had started our new master’s program. When the program was succeeding, we created a doctoral program. It was the first program to offer a doctoral program for journalism in the South.

The School began its very first international exchange program with the Dutch School of Journalism in Utrecht and the Danish School of Journalism in Aarhus. Opportunities to travel multiplied, getting to travel to Ecuador, India, Germany, Russia, China, Egypt, Ireland, England, Belgium, France, Nigeria, Israel, Indonesia, Canada, Turkey, Scotland, Denmark, Japan, Thailand, and Belarus. Suddenly, our program became global and began to realize and learn how journalism was a growing industry that provided many opportunities for up-and-coming journalism majors.

The School of Journalism and Electronic Media’s mission is to educate a new generation to tell stories and those of us who studied or taught here were all part of a great adventure that began with words, images and gossamer dreams spun in red brick buildings on the bank of the Tennessee River.