Department changes give communication students more career options

By Jordan Lewis

Soon Olivet will be graduating communication majors who are prepared to tackle all aspects of the evolving world of media.

This means videographers will not only be able to shoot and edit video, they will also have the skills to report and write stories. And journalists will not just be bred for newspapers, they will learn to write for all media platforms as well as produce their own video.

Concentrations within the mass communication major will be altered, and journalism will move from a major to a concentration. These changes will create a more all-encompassing “multimedia studies” major, which will include TV/video production, film studies, radio broadcasting, broadcast journalism, and print and online journalism.

Each of these changes will be in effect starting fall 2012 for sophomores, freshmen and incoming freshmen. Juniors have been given the choice of either following the new program or sticking with the old one, and seniors will not be affected.

This idea was first brought up by professors Carl Fletcher and Mark Bishop several years ago as a way to make communication students more marketable in the changing world of multimedia.

“We discovered through research and working in media business that graduating a person with just one expertise was not serving the student as well as we thought it could,” Bishop said.

“Multimedia studies” will train students in other areas of communication.

“These new changes will give students an enriched amount of skills as they enter into the work force as well as their desired skillset,” said Dr. Jay Martinson, chair of the communications department.

When restructuring journalism, changes within the major were made specifically to “be able to expand the major to have more of a multimedia [component], still keeping all the journalism courses but enhancing them with multimedia courses as well,” Martinson said.

There is also talk about adding a minor in journalism, professor of journalism Thalyta Swanepoel said. This would be approximately 16 credit hours.

Replacing mass communication with multimedia studies will benefit students who do not know which particular type of media they want to study.

“I wanted to do journalism but also something with TV news and I haven’t been able to decide which one,” said sophomore Nicole Lafond. “Adding broadcast journalism makes being undecided a lot easier. I can double concentrate instead of double major.”

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