A Story in Progress(?) – “Investigative” Journalism

Usually, news stories slowly unfold before your eyes, when you are trying to do research on an issue.
The topic I am currently working on seems to be the opposite!

I got wind of the fusion of the film department at the University of Mainz with other departments (Full disclosure: I minor in film) . Students had written a petition against the fusion, actually an initiative by their professors and the head of the department. It all seemed pretty clear and simple: students and teachers unite in protest against scientific decline… I thought I had a straight story!

… I met the students and talked to them on Monday, which is when I decided the information they had wasn’t solid enough. I needed backup. Kind of hard to do during vacation in general, but also in particular on this issue.

I called the department: Not going to give any statement until the head of the department is back from vacation (in August). Half the story had suddenly dropped away. I started to wonder if they are really interested in pushing this issue.
I called the school: “We cannot tell you anything about it, because the negotiations on this are still going on and the council talked about this in its non-public section.” Reassured, I tried to verify that there ARE negotiations: “I can’t say anything about this issue,” is what I got! Arghs!

So how am I going to get any useful information? And where did my story go?

Maybe I can get the president or Press Relations to say somthing, but for some reason I believe they won’t be helpful.

I’ll keep you posted on this one!
Let me know if you have any good ideas!

Here’s the petition in wording:

Für den Erhalt der Filmwissenschaft – ich bin dabei!

“Wir, Studierende der Filmwissenschaft, haben davon Kenntnis erhalten, dass die Universitätsleitung das eigenständige Fach Filmwissenschaft mit der Theaterwissenschaft und der Kulturanthropologie zu einem Institut zusammenlegen will, um es aufzugeben.

Dies geschieht gegen den erklärten Willen der Lehrenden des Faches und gegen unseren Willen!

Außerdem besteht die Absicht der Universitätsleitung, die Filmwissenschaft zu verpflichten, neben dem integrierten BA-Studiengang ausschließlich und nur noch einen integrierten Master-Studiengang mit den beiden anderen Fächern anzubieten.

Damit wäre die Eigenständigkeit der Filmwissenschaft verschwunden.

Wir bedauern diese Entwicklung sehr, und wir halten sie, auch was den Jobmarkt angeht, für falsch!
Wir möchten ein eigenständiges Fach Filmwissenschaft, und wir möchten sowohl einen eigenständigen BA- also auch Master-Studiengang in Filmwissenschaft!

Deshalb protestieren wir gegen diese Bestrebungen, ein so attraktives und erfolgreiches Fach zu gefährden!”

Update: Read here (Part II) how the story continues!

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