Letter from the Chair

I am honored and humbled to be elected chair of SF State Journalism beginning in Fall 2022. The legacy of our department, and everything we stand for, shines through in our alumni, faculty, and extended communities, all of whom I am proud to represent.  

If you had told 16-year-old me – San Francisco public school student, studying at night in the SF State library, dreaming of the future – that I would someday be writing this message as chair of the Journalism Department, I may have called you crazy. Today, I hope to call you a friend, an ally, a willing co-conspirator in redoubling our efforts to serve our diverse, multi-cultural world. 

SF State Journalism offers undergraduate degrees in Journalism, Photojournalism, and Bilingual Spanish Journalism. Our multidisciplinary Bilingual Spanish Journalism includes instruction from the Departments of Journalism, Modern Languages and Literature, Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, Latina/Latino Studies, International Relations, Political Science, and Criminal Justice. Our bilingual degree is the only such undergraduate program in California, and one of just a few in the United States.

You may be reading this page to help answer this question: "Is journalism for me?" To be sure, it is not for everyone. If you are assessing if journalism is the right major, you may find helpful some qualities we find valuable, whether you are an aspiring writer, editor, producer, photographer, or any combination:

  • Passion: You want to change the world by telling stories no one else has told.

  • Curiosity: You find yourself asking people questions about themselves, their experiences, and their opinions.

  • Research: You relish learning new things — and sharing what you know with others.

  • Writing: You live to write! Even our Photojournalism majors use writing every day in their work. Synthesizing, analyzing, and organizing information from lots of places makes you happy! Grammar is exciting!

  • Interviewing: You are intrigued by meeting strangers and engaging in conversation. You enjoy shooting candid photos and video.  You are comfortable – or are open to becoming more comfortable – calling people on the phone to ask questions, instead of emailing or texting.

  • Technology: You seek fresh ways to tell stories and present information.

More questions? I am here to help. Feel free to reach us by email at jour@sfsu.edu, by phone at (415) 338-1689 by our office in the Humanities Building, room 305.

Today, SF State Journalism faces challenges with student enrollment, alumni engagement, and our society's toxic portrayal of journalism, journalists and even facts. Against these challenges, and in service of our students, our communities and our craft, we will stand for truth and arc toward equity in all we do. The moment for journalism has never been greater, the stakes never higher. 

Jesse Garnier
Chair & Associate Professor
Department of Journalism
San Francisco State University