The latest news for journalism and communication students: the School of the Arts and Communication is offering a broadcast and multimedia journalism minor starting this fall. The addition of this minor will supplement any journalism student’s current course of study. However, this minor is open to all students and can be completed by taking a total of five courses from a few different categories such as photo, video and audio-related courses.
Donna Shaw, professor and department chair for Journalism and Professional Writing (JPW), says that student interest is what brought about the creation of the broadcast and multimedia minor.
“We knew that a number of JPW and Communication Studies students, among others, wanted to enter that field, or were doing TV internships,” says Shaw.
Shaw says this minor has been in the works since 2017. Along with Paul D’Angelo, professor and former department chair of Communication Studies, Shaw and the School of the Arts and Communication worked to create a course of study for students interested in broadcasting and multimedia.
“When we told professors from the other departments about the minor, they were enthusiastic and wanted to be part of it,” says Shaw. “So this is really adding to the richness of the minor. Taken all together, students will get a really good grounding in essential skills, not just technical but big-picture training in journalism ethics and law.”
D’Angelo said broadcast journalism and multimedia is an interdisciplinary course of study.
“It brings together some of the school’s best faculty and uses some of its best facilities to help students learn what they need to know to get great careers off the ground,” says D’Angelo.
Shaw said one of the challenges was finding an experienced journalist to teach the introductory broadcast journalism course. “We wanted to continue having it taught by someone with strong professional credentials — someone currently or recently working in the industry — so we began searching,” says Shaw. “This year, we were lucky enough to find the right person.”
Lauren Dugan, an adjunct instructor for TCNJ and reporter for Fox 29, will teach the introductory course for the new minor. The Emmy-nominated reporter graduated from Villanova University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism/communication.
There is a huge industry push for multimedia journalism, says Dugan, and students in the broadcast journalism class will learn how to become visual, emotional, and ethical storytellers.
Dugan will also teach students about what makes good television, the principles of shooting and editing video, and how to construct well-told stories. At the end of the class, students will create a demo reel/résumé tape they could use on a job interview, says Dugan.
“I think my experience can be really valuable for young, aspiring journalists,” says Dugan. “I know what it’s like to be a young reporter trying to break into the television industry. Nowadays, employers want journalists who can do it all — shoot and edit their own videos, as well as write stories for the ear and for the eye.”
Employment in newsrooms around the country, like a lot of other major industries, has seen its ups and downs in recent years, says D’Angelo.
“The trend lines are pretty clear: job opportunities in local television newsrooms and at the major broadcast and cable networks have held steady in the past 15 years,” says D’Angelo, “There are plenty of opportunities in the broadcast, cable, and digital-native industries for our students to go out and be a great journalist.”
Emmy Liederman ’21, a journalism and professional writing major and former editor-in-chief of TCNJ’s The Signal, is planning on adding this minor to her course of study. “I know that if I want to make it as a journalist, it is crucial that I broaden my skill set as much as possible,” says Liederman.
Liederman also adds that although there are certain aspects of multimedia that are covered in the JPW major, the program is definitely geared more toward print journalism.
“Adding a broadcast minor to my curriculum seemed like a great way to diversify my experiences in journalism, and I know trying out as many options as possible during college will lead me to the best possible career path,” says Liederman. “I’ve always thought about pursuing broadcasting but I never knew how to get started, so I’m so thankful that this minor came just in time before I graduate in the spring.”
Camille Furst ’22, is also a JPW major and is the current editor-in-chief of The Signal. Furst has been considering studying broadcast and multimedia journalism since the minor has been announced.
“I actually originally decided to switch to a journalism major just a month into my freshman year at TCNJ because of working at The Signal,” says Furst. “Ever since I became exposed to the newsroom and how important the work of journalism is, I’ve always wanted to be a part of it.”
What appeals to Furst most about the minor is that it can help her learn about all of the different aspects of journalism, and that it can enhance the knowledge she already has.
“It seems that employers are also really looking for people to know a little bit of everything in the world of journalism, specifically broadcast and digital, so I think this minor is the perfect fit,” says Furst.
Furst hopes to gain as much information and as many skills as possible by adding this minor to her résumé. “I really like how the minor is somewhat flexible with the types of classes you can take — for example, to increase my photojournalism skill, I can take a photo class as a course for the minor, but to learn more about broadcast and the production side of journalism, there are now courses for that as well,” says Furst.
In her career, Dugan has covered a wide range of stories like: the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous riots and protests, two deadly school shootings, hurricanes, tornadoes, political rallies, and other breaking news.
Dugan was also brought on board this past spring by School Dean Maurice Hall to start a Student Multimedia Council. The purpose of this council is to “generate collaboration between the student newspaper, television, and radio stations,” explains Dugan.
“I think it’s really valuable to students to hear a professor talk about their job and then watch them in action,” says Dugan. “I will never call myself an expert but I hope my class can also be an open conversation as far as media criticism and the future of news. I am so passionate about mentoring students and cannot wait for this class in the fall!”
– Madison Oxx ’20