From The Streets To The Halls Of The Sacred Heart University
March 31, 2003
Before the Sacred Heart University began its graduate program on Contemporary Media & Culture, Tego Calderon, Julian Gil, Denise Quiñones, Tito Trinidad, and the so called "perreo" dance were only discussed among showbiz people and magazines. Now they are no longer themes for light conversation. They have become cultural icons representing important components of Puerto Rican culture and, according to college professor Felix Jimenez, this needs to be studied.
The need to analyze all cultural dimensions from the point of view of the media led the Sacred Heart University to become the only learning institution in Puerto Rico to offer a masters degree in Contemporary Media & Culture. One year ago, those interested in studying this field would have had to enroll at universities such as Brown, Southern California or Pennsylvania.
"Many people are not aware of what is going on in the media. This program is an eye-opener. It is a way of establishing a real link between what goes on in theory and in everyday life," professor Jimenez said.
Following his long professional background in CNN, The New York Times, and The Nation, Jimenezwho has been teaching at the Sacred Heart Universityexplained that applying communication theory in everyday life is not only desirable, but indispensable for a professional communicator. Journalists and movie and TV producers need to know and understand for example, the influence of rap and reggae in a cultural product such as the "perreo" dance. They need to know why the racially mixed Puerto Rican people accept Julian Gil and former Miss Universe Denise Quiñones as representatives of their own cultural beauty.
"Knowing the answers to these questions means moving a step forward in communications. At the very least, it helps media professionals to approach local subjects in a more complete and accurate manner," he added.
Jimenez, who has also had the opportunity to interview and hire people who work in the media, said many communicators lack a solid theoretic background to help them improve the quality of what is offered in the field. He added that his experience in the media has confirmed how essential this knowledge is in order to become a true leader in this area.
One of the objectives of this graduate program in Contemporary Media & Culture is to correct this deficiency in Puerto Rico. Its new academic approach has caught the eye of many students and the academic community in general. The Sacred Heart University hopes to attract the attention of many more who are interested in studying the cultural products of Puerto Rico from a mass media perspective.
For more information, dial 787-728-1515, ext. 2327 or go to www.graduado.sagrado.edu.