Revamp for 21st Century Media

Recently, administrators in the journalism department announced the restructuring of the Newswriting I course, lessening the focus on the print medium and broadening the scope of the course to encompass broadcast.

This change is definitely a step in the right direction, as many students within the program have aspirations in television and radio and have long expressed their need for an expansion on the broadcast disciplines. In many ways, the administrators are hoping to create students who are capable of any task needed in their work place, the kind of journalist who can be prepared to jump from one medium to another in order to survive in the competitive nature of the media world after they graduate.

The danger lies in ignoring the progression of the Internet as a news medium. Beyond blogging, the Internet has developed significantly with online news and magazines. There is also broadcasting through Podcasts, which are like radio programs, and Video Podcasts, which are akin to television journalism. These evolutions in the medium reflect the mobile and speedy information people crave.

Many Web internships available to undergrads ask that the candidate know the workings of InDesign and Photoshop, two programs covered in the Fundamentals of Media Graphics course in the curriculum.

However, many of the internships also ask that the candidate know basic HyperText Markup Language (HTML) skills and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) for Web programming. A course incorporated into the curriculum to teach the basics of Web design, similar to the Fundamentals of Media Graphics, would help many students in obtaining jobs within the Web industry, even allowing them to create their own niche in that industry.

While the program is certainly making strides by introducing this new angle of teaching the course, it would be great if there were supplementary courses to support this change. In addition, the program can also make strides in incorporating more Web-related training to prepare the students for the future of the industry. Perhaps then the program will create the many-media capable journalists they are setting out to with this revamp.