By Whitney Wender (@whitney_wender)
In its latest curriculum update to keep pace with digital advances, the UW Oshkosh Department of Journalism will be offering a new multimedia journalism major for Fall 2018.
Students in the ACEJMC-accredited journalism program previously could choose from journalism or public relations (CEPR). Within the journalism major, emphases were offered in writing/editing, advertising, visual journalism and media studies. Online content creators need both writing and visual communication skills in the marketplace, which led to a merging of the writing/editing and visual journalism emphases to focus on multimedia and streamlined courses to improve the student experience. Although multimedia and digital applications increasingly are part of the current curriculum, the new major adds focus to these concepts and can shorten time to degree.
The anticipation for the multimedia journalism major can be felt throughout the department, especially with the department’s 50th anniversary celebration coming this fall.
“Journalism is always evolving and it’s essential that our graduates are prepared for the job market,” Department Chair and Associate Professor Sara Steffes Hansen said. “The department prioritizes a strong curriculum that keeps pace with practice in the field, technology and the ways that society consumes online content for news, entertainment, information and advertising. Visual communication is a required skill today for online writers so multimedia learning is essential, and increasing writing application for visual creators also is key.”
Hansen noted that enhancing the student experience also is important to reduce the number of specific course requirements within the streamlined major to shorten time to degree, which is a goal for the department and university.
Ryan Taylor, a double major in journalism and public relations, said the new major offers opportunity for students to be “well-rounded, and more diverse individuals for the workforce.” He noted the importance of students learning basic tools and terminology needed for video production, as well as the understanding of how to use the equipment needed, both skills that could advance them in their future careers.
Professor Timothy Gleason, who teaches visual and multimedia journalism, emphasized the importance of enhancing the major at a time when people often find their news online with benefits for students in the marketplace.
“Besides the range of skillsets students will gain, the changes we are making prepare students as the industry changes,” Gleason said. “And these skills from the new major can transfer into many different types of jobs.”
The department’s website will be updating soon with more information about the multimedia journalism major, and details for the 50th anniversary celebration Oct. 19-20. These updates also are shared on the department’s social media [Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn] and Facebook group for students and alumni.