As a media studies student, you will learn to write quickly, accurately and under deadline pressure. You will learn to conduct research using traditional and electronic sources. You will acquire a deep understanding of the ethical and legal responsibilities associated with being a communicator — whether in the newsroom or the marketplace. And you will develop a mastery of current technologies, including multimedia, digital photography, digital video and digital audio and social media.
Since today’s journalist must be a generalist’s generalist -- a Renaissance person in an age of specialization -- we insist that each student obtain firm grounding in the liberal arts. You’ll find that beyond teaching you specific essential skills, we also continually promote your broad and perceptive understanding of society.
Hence as a St. Mike’s “MJDA” major you’ll gain basic journalistic skills such as news-writing, editing and information gathering, grounding in the ethical responsibilities of a professional communicator, awareness of connections among various technologies and the messages delivered through them, and international understanding (ideally including study abroad).
There are two versions of the Media Studies & Digital Arts major: one with a journalism concentration, and one without. Both versions combine the arts and sciences with hands-on communication skills, critical to our students as they learn to become effective communicators in our Information Age.
Whichever version you choose, our revised curriculum has three core strands that will be present through the classes you take:
1. Media Studies
We focus on the research and analysis of all media types and styles-news, advertising, photography, film, magazines, radio, television, web, and wireless/mobile media. Most broadly, we explore important questions related to the impact and influences that media are having on all of us.
2. Digital Media Arts: Digital Photography, Digital Film, Animation, Interactive Web Design
We produce films, digital photographs, digital audio productions, television productions, TV ads, interactive web designs, animation, wireless/mobile design. We have state-of-the-art computing labs, high-definition video cameras, digital still cameras, broadcast video cameras, digital audio recorders, and a host of web and interactive authoring tools. Visit our digital media arts gallery.
3. Journalism: Writing, Reporting, Informed Citizenry
Our emphasis is on producing interesting and important investigative stories. How can we help make a more informed citizenry? How can we better understand our local, regional, national, and international connections? Visit our online news magazine.
A Global Media & Cross-Cultural Focus
We have a strong international media studies component to the curriculum which includes Global Media, Development, and Culture, Foreign Correspondence, Global Media, Expression, and Identity and a wide range of internationally-oriented courses through Saint Michael's Global Studies Program. We also require all students to study abroad/away at some point during their four years.
All students develop a comprehensive digital portfolio of the works they produce, which often includes research, thesis, news articles, films, webs, photo essays, and animations. We strongly recommended that students also complete a minor and/or an 18-credit concentration. The minors our students complete spans a wide range of fields and disciplines-Global Studies, English, Political Science, Music, Art, Philosophy, Theater, Biology, History, Sociology, Environmental Sciences.
The Department of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts was established in 1974 through grants from the Frank E. Gannett Foundation and other sources, the proceeds of which continue to support the program.
Here's a great example of the opportunities for digital production enthusiasts among our students: In an exciting recent competition, five Saint Michael's students and their adviser, Professor Jon Hyde, worked round the clock, October 29-30 and came out on top in the 24-hour film-making contest that included students from Saint Michael's, the University of Vermont, Middlebury College and Burlington College. The contest was part of the 2011 Vermont International Film Festival. Jon hopes and believes it will become a regular thing.
A few years ago Professor Jerry Swope team-taught a service-learning class called HIV/AIDS in East Africa with Political Science Professor Trish Siplon. After taking this class, students traveled to Tanzania for three weeks where they and Professor Swope worked closely with the Ilula Orphan Program to document the projects and community programs this organization supports. Students created a website for the orphan program and wrote grants for funding. That's a classic St. Mike's-style opportunity, and similar ones are likely to arise in your years here.
For the past three presidential election seasons, Professor David Mindich, a nationally acclaimed author and expert on youth media habits, has led his Media and Politics students on a trip to New Hampshire to engage with national presidential candidates as they campaign leading up to the primary there. You'll also meet with the media who cover them. Every four-year student will have a chance to be part of this popular tradition one year of your time at St. Mike's.
Professor Traci Griffith, with her background in law, is also one of the college's pre-law advisers and has helped many journalism students see opportunities as a legal specialist in journalism (or a media issues specialist in a law career!) Through her media law and ethic class she has inspired many of her students to go into law.
Professor Kimberly Sultze offers a study-abroad re-entry class. Along with Jon Hyde, she has worked with the college's Study Abroad Office to produce the Global Eyes Competition and Calendar. Student photography from around the world is featured in the calendar, and its production is a practical learning experience.
Our students are reporters, editors, photographers and columnists for the campus student newspaper The Defender, which in its print and digital formats has won regional student press awards many times. This experience counts for academic credit.
Internships at Burlington-area news outlets are available and encouraged, offering an important foot in the door. Students can also do valuable internships over the summer in their hometown or while studying abroad.
Some of our graduates are employed in newsrooms all over New England and beyond. Many other graduates are working in web design, film production, photojournalism, advertising, public relations, marketing, and politics (one of our graduates is the press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee). Some are doing jobs that weren’t even invented a decade ago, like Director of Social Media. Others have gone on to a range of graduate programs: law school, media studies, American studies, and other fields.