Education - Page 1 - Mass communications in the new age

- Page 1
Mass communications in the new age
Programs arm students with technical skills to succeed

By Gregory J. Alexander, Contributing Writer

Traditionally, journalism was a very specialized field. Students chose a particular medium – newspapers, magazines, radio or television – and studied intensively within that field. However, much has changed in journalism – television reporters can be seen doing double duty as reporter and cameraman, while writers are expected to post their articles online and promote it through social media.

Recognizing that many working journalists don’t have these technical skills or they attended journalism school before the advent of the internet, the University of Maryland launched a graduate certificate of professional studies in multimedia journalism in 2010, attracting reporters, editors, communications and public relations professionals, designers, and social media professionals looking to enhance their skills.

“We’ve had many students who graduated from our print journalism program return to campus to take the certificate’s courses,” says Chris Harvey, a full-time faculty member, director of assessments and director of the weekend certificate program for the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at University of Maryland. Harvey adds that several communications professionals and faculty members from the university have also taken classes.

The 12-credit program contains four graduate classes taught by industry professionals, including the “Washington Post” and “Baltimore Sun” – Interactive Design and Development, Introduction to Multimedia Skills, Media Entrepreneurship and Mobile Journalism. If students decide to pursue a master’s degree, nine of the 12 credits could be utilized. Since the program is geared toward working journalists, classes are held on Saturdays.

“Students are expected to already possess strong writing skills, so we focus on the technical side – HTML coding, JavaScript, web design and Cascading Style Sheets, for example. Also, print and broadcast reporters in the program may want to enhance their digital photography skills,”

Journalism, continued on page 2