In my first post for MediaBizBloggers, I briefly explained the Emerging Media Journalism program at Ball State University. Today I'm going to elaborate on it even more, because it's crucial to understand how Ball State continues to revamp the program, to make it the best it can possibly be.
As anyone knows who is in the media industry, or is going to school to pursue a career in media, that particular career path is changing daily. In high school, when I would eat breakfast, I sat and watched the news on television before school. That was the main way I usually got the news. Now that I'm at school, I don't have time to sit and watch the news. I wish I did because I do enjoy it, but for me and many other college students, we simply don't have the time. The solution? Read the campus newspaper or get the news online. College students are always multitasking, and are always online. Whether it's looking up information for class or scanning through the updates on Facebook, the online world is the fastest and easiest way to get the news.
So what does this have to do with Ball State? The university is one of the first to adapt to this changing media world early on, and is doing its best to prepare students for it. According to the Emerging Media Journalism page, the university "has revamped its journalism and telecommunications/broadcast courses to prepare students for jobs in all types of multimedia journalism." That statement could not be more true. In one of my news classes right now, I have an assignment to write an online update, print story and a broadcast reader for a breaking news story. From this one assignment, I will gain more experience by writing for three different types of media, as well as practice on writing a fast update because the online update will be done during class time.
At first, the idea of being on the Emerging Media Journalism track was a little intimidating. I came to school to write and that's what I wanted to do. But taking these news classes, which are a combination of journalism and telecommunications, has really helped and is always fun because there is constantly something new to learn. They are challenging, especially if you have never worked with audio or video prior to the classes, but the skills I am learning now are preparing me to become a multimedia journalist in this changing media landscape.
What makes the program at Ball State so unique is that it's not something that was just cooked up one day by some faculty members, although they certainly did help with it. It was "developed to address industry needs and shaped with input from editors and news directors around the country," according to the Emerging Media Journalism page. This fact is unique to Ball State because it comes directly from the people in the media industry who are experiencing these changes first hand. As a student, it's nice to know that what I'm learning now will truly prepare me for a career in either journalism or broadcast. And yes, that's right. Since I have two majors, I will have the skills and knowledge after graduating to pursue a career in a variety of jobs in either journalism or broadcast.
Another advantage of this new program is the instruction. I have journalism professors as well as telecommunications professors. Even though the program bridges the gap between the two, it's still nice to have professors who are in their area of expertise, whether it be journalism or telecommunications. In fact, as a freshman, I am taking my ethics class from the chairperson of the department of journalism.
Even though it's not just journalism or telecommunications, as an emerging media student, areas of specialization include news, graphics, magazine, or photography. In my opinion, the Emerging Media Journalism track is the best way for a student who is interested in either journalism or telecommunications to truly succeed at Ball State. It can help students to decide after graduation which path is best for them, it can provide skills in journalism and telecommunications that puts students ahead of the game or aren't merging their programs together. And above all, it gives students the necessary skills to perform a variety of tasks at their future workplace.
I hope the Emerging Media Journalism program is clearer now and that you understand some of the skills I am already learning in my classes as a freshman.
Until next time, carpe diem.
Sara Nahrwold is a freshman journalism major at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. She is from Ossian, Indiana, close to Fort Wayne. She has written for the Ball State Daily News, the campus newspaper for the features section. She also has a weekly column for the paper entitled “Nahrwords.” Sara can be reached at email@example.com.
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