Dean Mills Discusses the Future of Journalism during the Fudan University School of Journalism’s 80th Anniversary Activities

By Ernest Zhang
China Program Coordinator

Columbia, Mo. (Nov. 16, 2009) — “Journalism education programs are more crucial than ever to the survival of quality journalism,” noted Dean Mills, dean of the Missouri School of Journalism, during his remarks on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the founding of China’s first school of journalism, the Fudan University School of Journalism (FDSJ).

Dean Mills, Fritz Cropp and Ernest Zhang
Dean Mills, Fritz Cropp and Ernest Zhang visit the Animation School of Communication at the University of China. Photo by Wu Dongping.

Mills was in Shanghai on Oct. 31 to participate in the Deans Forum on “Journalism and Communication Education in the Media Age” and in other celebration activities. He pointed out that the new technologies, heavily leveraged investments in newspaper groups and the recession have caused a crisis in U.S. journalism.

Mills said the word “crisis” in Chinese suggests both danger and opportunity. While the profession of journalism is experiencing many problems, he said that these difficulties are offering “vast opportunities for journalism education” and that “the task for journalism educators is to design curricula and research programs that can make the most of those opportunities.”

At many American journalism schools, Mills explained, students, under the supervision of faculty, work to fill in the gaps left by commercial news outlets. At Missouri, Mills shared, “we have sponsored competitions in which teams of students from journalism, business, computer science and information science design new uses for cutting-edge technologies.”

Mills said these innovative courses and extracurricular activities will enable universities to better prepare the next generation of journalists. Some of them, Mills believes, will not only help prepare better journalists, but also provide better real-world journalism to citizens at the same time.

Approximately 1,000 professors, students and professionals were on hand for the Deans Forum. This number included roughly 70 deans of journalism and mass communication from different countries and regions including China, America, Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Russia, Singapore and Taiwan.

Dean Mills at Fudan University School of Journalism
Dean Mills offers congratulatory remarks on the occasion of Fudan University School of Journalism’s 80th anniversary. Photo by Gu Bing.

As a special guest of Shanghai Fudan University’s chancellor and representing deans of journalism on the morning of Oct. 31, Mills gave congratulating remarks to those on hand for the celebration. He also signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the Missouri School of Journalism to strengthen its cooperation with FDSJ. The Fudan School of Journalism has been a long-term partner of Missouri, and Fudan University’s chancellor led a delegation to celebrate the centennial of the School and the dedication of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute in September 2008.

Fritz Cropp, an associate professor and director of the School’s international programs, was also invited as a keynote speaker to address the Deans Forum. His speech, “The Teaching of Strategic Communication in the Convergence Journalism Era: Missouri’s Case Study,” provided numerous ideas to the deans at the forum for redesigning their schools’ curricula.

After the FDSJ anniversary activities, Mills, Cropp and Ernest Zhang, the School’s China program coordinator, went to Beijing to visit three other top schools of journalism and communication. They are Renmin University of China, Communication University of China and Peking University. The group identified some innovative ideas to enhance current partnerships and projects.

At Renmin University of China, Dean Mills was presented with a honorary plaque of crystal by Professor Gang Gao, chairman of the Chinese Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, for his and the Missouri School of Journalism’s long-term contribution to the development of China’s journalism education and the cultivation of China’s journalism talents.

Updated: May 6, 2020

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