Editorial: New Media Communication major raises more questions

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The University of Toledo’s Department of Communication has seen a lot of changes in the last couple of years. With two college name changes in just the last two, it is our hope that the department has finally found a good home within the College of Arts and Letters. Change is often seen as a good thing, and just this last semester, the department started to make the changes once more as they offered a new major in Media Communication.

But is this new program a step in the right direction? The truth is, we at the Independent Collegian believe it is more of a lateral move.

The new major was created to with the goal of allowing our students to study all areas of media and learn how to use the media in a multifaceted way. While this may be true, the new major’s focus on video production and broadcast journalism we feel is really only preparing students for a job in the field of broadcast communication.

It seems that the new major was created specifically for students interested in broadcast communication. Both the Communication and the Media Communication majors have the same university core curriculum courses requirements, as well as the same classes required for graduation from the College of Arts and Letters. For major requirements, both require Mass Communications and Society, as well as Media Writing. But where the original Communication degree requires general communication classes such as Public Presentations and Group Communications, students with the Media Communication major are required to take TV Production 1 and Media Performance and Presentation.

While a major that focuses on broadcast students is not a bad thing (and we encourage programs with focuses on the arts), we are concerned that there seems to be a disconnect in what the students are interested in this year and what the Department of Communication’s professors wish to teach.

Maybe it’s because there is a stereotype against radio and newspaper writing as dying fields. Maybe it’s a fluke and next year we will see a huge push in broadcast again. Maybe because we are the student newspaper and we are blind to our own bias. But we don’t think so.

All we want is to be sure that no one loses perspective. The only thing that should be taken into consideration when we look at reorganizing departments, creating new majors and offering or not offering certain classes at UT should be what the students want and need. We know we want to see more writing and reporting classes and we know we are not the only ones.

So what’s the solution? If the University of Toledo took a step back and engaged students more about what interests them most, they would be able to gain a clearer picture of what needs to be changed. This is particularly useful if the department asked graduating seniors about what they felt was missing from their experience here at UT.

Apart from asking, you also have to take action. Steps need to be taken to work towards having classes these students want and need. If you put the power in the students’ hands, not only will the current students be happier, but you can create a program that draws students in from every corner.

This division of the regular Communication major is a good idea. We believe this major should be the first of many specific majors created for the Department of Communication to help students interested in these fields focus their interests and really help them grow their skills. All we ask for is balance and to not be forgotten.

The line two department name changes was altered to read two college name changes

“According to Jacqueline Layng, a professor of Communication at UT who had a major role in the creation of the Media Communication program,” was removed from the story. 

The names of the classes TV Production 1 and Media Performance and Presentation were corrected.

The lines “This past semester, UT:10, the UT student-run news show and class, was cancelled due to a lack of interest. According to Layng, the class will be available for students to take next spring. UT:10 is the class that the new major is centered around and is required in order to graduate. Additionally, some Communication students have put together a petition for the creation of an additional audio class, called Audio 2. At the same time classes such as Storytelling in Public and Private Places, which was predicted to struggle to be filled for the upcoming spring semester, now require waiting lists. This shows UT students have more of an interest in writing and radio, not broadcasting. So why did we create a new major specifically for broadcast students?” were removed from the story due to lack of clarity. 

The line “When you start to fight over other petty issues, you are doing your students and your university a disservice.” was removed from the story. 

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1 Comment

  • Alex Granger

    “students want and need” Storytelling in Public and Private Places? “audio2” So, you have to learn to talk before you know how to write news? What do you say into a mic when you don’t know how to write? Good luck with your job search. I’m sure that prospective employers can’t wait to hire an expert in Storytelling in Public and Private Places. C’mon!

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Editorial: New Media Communication major raises more questions