People are setting down their newspapers and reaching for their smartphones to keep updated on the latest news and information. The media world is changing, and now Concordia’s journalism program is changing with it.
A new multi-media journalism major will be available to Concordia students this fall. This new major will overtake the current print journalism major, and will be an interdisciplinary collaboration between the English, communication studies and theater art, and art departments.
“The creation of the multi-media journalism program is in recognition of the changes happening to journalism in the last 20 years,” Don Rice, one of the three new journalism chairs, said.
Journalists are now expected to be multi-faceted: they must have strong writing and reporting skills, and also have experience with different forms of multi-media communication including video and photography.
The change from a print journalism program to a multi-media program has been an ongoing process, with English Professor Catherine McMullen, CSTA Professor Don Rice and art Professor Peter Shultz leading the change.
“People are expected to have media skills,” McMullen said. “Having an English class called print journalism is kind of like having a math class called abacas math.”
The new journalism curriculum will now include courses in the English, CSTA and art departments.
This new multi-media journalism program was passed by Faculty Senate on Jan. 24 and will be featured in the Concordia College course catalog this fall.
“In order to remain a very relevant journalism program this needed to be done,” senior Preston Johnson said. “Journalism is changing very rapidly and being a great interviewer and great writer isn’t enough anymore.”
Johnson will graduate this spring with a double major in journalism and communication studies with an emphasis on mass media. The new multi-media journalism program is something he is glad will be in place for incoming students.
“Being a video person, mass media person and writer, this is really a dream that these programs are intersecting,” Johnson said. “The students going into this program are very lucky. This change is making the Concordia education even more relevant for journalism students.”
Rice is also excited about the change.
“I think it’s going to be a really good program,” Rice said. “For students going into journalism careers it will be very helpful.”
With the new multi-media journalism major, students will also have more freedom to select courses relevant to their future.
“It will really allow students to tailor the program to their interests and career goals,” McMullen said.
The way journalism is performed is changing, but McMullen thinks there are some aspects that will remain constant.
“Although the multi-media skills are increasingly important for journalists, the core skills of reporting and writing is not deemphasized and just as important as they always have been,” she said.