New major combines video, audio, film and news

Written by Muleskinner Staff

Story by Andy Lyons, News Editor
In November 2010, it was announced that the journalism major at UCM was among ten majors that were to be eliminated.
Less than two years later, the digital media productions (DMP) major that launched this fall in its place seeks to give students a well-rounded education and valuable workforce experience.
The Coordinating Board of Higher Education uncovered 16 majors at UCM that had failed to produce an average of 10 or more graduates per year from 2007-2009, according to a report in the Nov. 4, 2010 issue of The Muleskinner.
The Department of Communication and Sociology responded to losing the journalism program by converging four major areas of study together. Video, audio, film and news are the focuses in the DMP major.
“The goal was to restructure the majors and collapse them into one broad major,” said Jack Rogers, chair of the communication department.
He went on to explain that students will benefit from a broader understanding of the four areas of focus and how they relate to one another.
The major requires a minimum of 120 credit hours, 21 of which are free electives. There are also changes to the requirements for graduation as well.
“There’s not a minor required anymore, so students can focus on two areas of DMP,” Rogers said.
With the broadened major, students can learn more about each area.  The video focus is geared toward television, audio is geared toward radio and sound editing, film is geared toward movies and news is geared toward journalism in several different forms.
The core classes are different as well.
“Our core classes are a bit stronger with classes like Writing Across the Media,” said Joe Moore, assistant professor of communication. “It teaches students to use the same information and write it for multiple platforms.”
With the evolving job market, it became necessary to have more convergence. Students need to have knowledge across several fields, especially with web-based news becoming more popular.
“There are so many opportunities with the web to self-publish, having a better skill set allows students to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Carol Atkinson, professor of communication.
Along with a stronger curriculum, there are also opportunities for students to gain experience through the different student media outlets.
“There are multiple chances for students to gain workforce knowledge with The Muleskinner,, KMOS, The Bridge, the UCM Media Network and Sports Broadcasting.  It’s a chance to obtain media skills in all platforms from audio to video and writing,” Atkinson said.
The program is designed to give students the best possible advantage in the workforce.
There is always a need for people to deliver news to their communities.
“A democratic society requires journalism, so there is a job market (for DMP graduates),” Moore said. “It’s not what it used to be, but it’s making a comeback.”
There has been speculation from students that the journalism major was completely gone after the announcement in 2010, but the news focus of DMP will give students an opportunity to become well-rounded journalists by the time it is completed.
The new curriculum and opportunities with student organizations provide students with ample opportunity to hone their journalistic skills.
The DMP major, with its four areas of focus, is a more robust version of the former programs.
The department came together to design the program.  It is now modernized and streamlined to effectively teach students the skills they will need to enter the media workforce.