Communications Department requests funds for expanding convergent media

Communications Department requests funds for expanding convergent media

by Allison LaneStaff Writer

The Communication Studies Department is asking for funds to purchase new video equipment students will be able to use for classes.

Students currently are required to blog for certain courses in these fields, or write and respond to articles online. The technology the department is looking to purchase would allow students to explore other areas of mass media. Specifically, the purchase of video cameras would give students the opportunity to record events around campus.

Brian Steffen, professor of communication studies, says that media today has changed from the past in that the once separate fields of broadcast, print and online media have overlapped to form what is known as convergent media. A student studying mass communication or journalism should have some experience in all these areas to be well prepared for a job.

The blogging that is presently being done by students is one advance toward the new kind of media the departments have already made.

“It’s essentially the first step in the transition of media studies to a converged media outlook,” Steffen said.

The possible improvement of technology will not only benefit current Simpson students but also those of the future. According to Chad Roberts, instructor of communication studies and student media specialist, the added technology will also benefit the college by attracting more high school students interested in that specialty.

“I think that this is going to help not only students here, but those thinking of a mass communications or journalism major at Simpson,” Roberts said. “The more we can offer them to be well-rounded journalists, the better.”

If the proposal goes through, the equipment will be paid for by the college. Technology is not the only thing that will need to be purchased, though. To use the video cameras to the maximum potential, money will also need to be invested in improving settings around campus with effects such as lighting and backdrops.

As for now, blogging is the primary way students can experience some aspect of the convergent media. For the most part, students have been accepting of the assignment.

Christin Kloewer, a sophomore corporate communications major, had never blogged on her own before but has been doing it for one of Roberts’ classes this semester.

“The blogging takes more time, but it helps you to stay up more on current events that otherwise you might not pay much attention to,” Kloewer said. “It helps students because it forces you to make opinions on current issues.”

Steffen has numerous goals set for the future of the program and its students. Next year, he says he would like to see a course being taught on video production, and with the help of professional equipment, it would teach students to produce news packages. His main hope, though, is to give students experience in different areas of media.

“I want them to know how to write, shoot and produce,” Steffen said. “I want them to do this across many media platforms.”

For Steffen and the department, blogging is the first step in a process that will hopefully create a program where students have the opportunity to explore all aspects of convergent media.