In Support of Journalism
During this time of revolutionary change, we need journalists as never before. Our very
democracy is predicated on the once-radical notion that the American people are capable of
governing themselves. But how can we if we're not informed? We need accurate facts and critical
thinking skills to process them. We need our world to be put in context. We need wisdom and
This joint letter comes from members of the Wichita State University Elliott School of
Communication Advisory Board as a response to the Kansas State Department of Education’s
recent decision to cut off funding to high-school journalism and yearbook courses. We take issue
with the department’s reasoning that these programs don’t lead to high-demand careers.
Our board serves as a case in point. Our members represent a broad range of
communication professions: publishers, editors, general managers, corporate vice presidents,
managing partners, directors of public affairs, program officers and public information officers. We
work in newspapers large and small, TV, radio, government, corporate America and ad agencies.
Many of us trained as journalists. And we all view ethics-based, high-quality journalism as
vital to our community, state, nation and world. Is journalism a profession in transition? Yes. As
are manufacturing, education, finance, agriculture, healthcare, retail and almost anything else you
can think of. New technologies allow us to reinvent ourselves while global pressures demand we
do so. Core skills demanded by our current information age include research, synthesis, writing
and message production.
Good reporters don’t do our thinking, but they prod us to think. They unearth the unknown.
Shine light into dark corners. The Fourth Estate arms us with information critical for a wise
electorate, savvy business dealings and sound investing. A strong and vibrant press was deemed
so essential by our Founding Fathers they gave it special protections under the U.S. Constitution.
In a world that bombards us with messages every waking moment of our day, we seek out trusted
To the State Department of Education we say, restore this critical funding to our high schools,
encouraging our youngest journalists. Now.
Tammy Allen,VP Marketing & Communications, Allen Gibbs & Houlik; Susan Armstrong, President/CEO
ArmstrongIShank Advertising; Joan Barrett, President/GM KWCH-TV/KSCW-TV; Jarrod Bartlett, Director of
Communication, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems; Tom Bertels, Managing Partner, Sullivan Higdon Sink;
Tami Bradley, Managing Partner, Bothner & Bradley; Al Buch, Retired, GM KSNW-TV; Sherry Chisenhall,
VP News, The Wichita Eagle; Kent Cornish, Executive Director, Kansas Association of Broadcasters; Tom
Glade, GM/VP for Marketing, Clear Channel Radio Group; Bonita Gooch, Editor-in-Chief, Community Voice;
Deanna Harms, Senior VP, Greteman Group; Nancy Martin, COO Emergency Services, HCA Wesley; Eric
McCart, GM, Journal Broadcast Group; Mark McCormick, Director of Communications, Kansas Leadership
Center; Chris Power, VP Communication, Kansas Health Foundation; Steve Randa, Managing Partner, Jajo;
Bill Roy, Editor, Wichita Business Journal; Dave Seaton, Editor and Publisher, Winfield Daily Courier; Lynn
Stephan, Retired, Stephan Advertising Agency; Dan Wall, GM, KAKE-TV; Van Williams, Spokesman, City of
Wichita; Jackie Wise, VP/GM, Entercom Radio; Carter Zerbe, Retired, Publisher, Augusta Daily Gazette
Designed by Gray Digital Media