Unique Journalism Program at Patrick Henry College
by Carrie Durning
Patrick Henry College (PHC) has a reputation of being one of the top Christian colleges in the country, regardless of the academic major that a student pursues. A very unique formula helps build the Patrick Henry College Journalism program and makes it unique from any other BA-level program in Journalism.
So, what makes the academic program so unique or somehow superior? That’s a fair question. The liberal arts program at Patrick Henry College is distinctly classical in its approach, American in its presentation, and Christian in its worldview. Here’s a brief description of each:
Broad and Rich
All academic programs at Patrick Henry College are built on a broad and rich classical core; one that emphasizes reading volumes of the great texts of Western Civilization, strong analytical skills, strong thinking and reasoning ability, and producing the best communicators among all college graduates. PHC delivers the kind of education that the university (general) provided 250 years ago. Students in a university would read the great works of antiquity and dialogue about their meanings.
The Patrick Henry College program also requires students to understand the spirit of the American founding, relying on Constitutional literacy, an understanding of our freedom’s foundations, History of the United States, and of Western Civilization. The academic programs at Patrick Henry College delivers an education as deep and rich as the one that formed the thinking of our Founding Fathers.
Patrick Henry College’s program holds an unwavering commitment to the Christian worldview. All courses from sciences and math to government and the humanities are taught through the lens of God’s revealed truth—the special revelation of God through his world, through His Word, the Bible, and through the Word who became flesh; Jesus Christ.
The combination of high academic rigor, commitment to the spirit of America’s founding principles, and an unwavering biblical worldview helps PHC students achieve the excellence they were looking for when they applied—the reputation that the College has earned nationally in only 20 years.
Tell Great Stories
Studying Journalism at Patrick Henry College will do more than help students learn how to write or to get news stories out the door as quickly as possible. Journalism at PHC is aimed at creating great storytellers. Stories define cultures, and storytellers are so important in politics, business, entertainment, education, the arts, and religion.
The aim for the Journalism program at Patrick Henry College is only accomplished when the graduates are able to see the world rightly—as it really is. Only then can those storytellers help others see the world rightly too. Far more than aiming to inform, a well-trained journalist will strive to help people understand. With the rich classical Christian liberal arts education at Patrick Henry College, graduates will be best equipped to “lead the nation and shape the culture,” through stories.
From Writing to Storytelling at Patrick Henry College
One of the first classes in the program that a Journalism student encounters integrates classical liberal arts into the art of writing. It puts emphasis on the relationship of things and certain connections that can be drawn during the interview process of a story. Students develop the high-caliber skill of learning how to ask precise questions for acquiring the most informative story possible.
Once journalism students learn to think clearly, speak articulately, and write persuasively, they are best equipped to tell the story. Journalism students continue into courses which cover the basics of storytelling and writing, all with a commitment to the highest levels of character and integrity.
The Importance of Storytelling in Journalism
With the need for Christians in the media, working for the government, and in ministry, journalists from Patrick Henry College are trained to help people see the world clearly. This is why the Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism is so unique: at PHC, we train young Christians to have a historically informed understanding of the culture and understand how best to apply biblical truth to those important issues.
At Patrick Henry College, journalism classes reveal the importance of understanding the story before shaping it into a narrative—and from narrative to a story masterpiece. This is where the upper-level journalism classes come into play, such as Narrative Nonfiction, Multimedia Skills, Political Journalism, and Journalism History.
Upper-level Journalism classes at Patrick Henry College equip journalism students with excellence in writing, awareness of important stories to shape our culture, and the beautiful language to use when telling a story.
Getting Creative with Storytelling
Journalism classes at Patrick Henry College such as Narrative Nonfiction push students beyond their creative limits to tell a story in its full potential. Using elements such as narrative storytelling, excellence in word choice, and precise language—as well as beautiful imagery and descriptions—Dr. Sillars teaches journalism students the capabilities of storytelling in its most beautiful form.
Classes at Patrick Henry College such as Multimedia Skills equip students with a broad set of skills also important in the industry. Journalism students at PHC will complete this course with proficient skills in Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe Audition, and others along with skilled broadcast journalism and videography.
Students taking this creative storytelling journalism course have the choice in the class which talent or skill to focus on perfecting so they can finish the class having created media fit for publishing.
Other creative storytelling courses offered to journalism students at Patrick Henry College include Print Media Graphics, the College’s student newspaper, The Herald, and Herald Media.
Using Creative Storytelling in the World
While most journalism students at Patrick Henry College excel in newsroom journalism—telling stories of a fallen world infused with grace—other journalism majors use the excellence in media and creative storytelling they learned at PHC and apply it to their passions to create a thriving business.
These passions-turned-business range from life-blogging, painting, or website design to wedding photography and videography.
Along with alumni of the Journalism program, current journalism students are also leading the nation and shaping the culture through their creative knowledge of storytelling, beginning their small businesses right on the campus of Patrick Henry College.
One current journalism student has taken what she learned through creative journalism classes at Patrick Henry College and applied it to start her creative company of watercolor painting. Turning her passion of panting into a profession, Adriana VonHelms (PHC ‘21) began taking varying painting commissions, the most popular being paintings of homes. VonHelms tells the story of a home through her watercolor painting; once receiving a photo from her client of their cherished home, VonHelms turns a blank page into a beautiful story of a home full of adored memories for her client to cherish forever.
Other current students have turned their passions of photography and videography into a business. One student became a part-time photographer while enrolled, telling the stories of couples in love through the art of photography during engagement sessions and weddings.
Stories define cultures and Patrick Henry College’s journalism major is for those that wish to learn how to be the best at seeing the world clearly and telling true stories.