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Northwest Missouri State University

Department Spotlight September 2012

Department of Communication and Mass Media

This month's department spotlight highlights the Department of Communication and Mass Media.  This department is currently made up of 16 faculty and three staff, all of whom have devoted a combined 228 years of service to Northwest.  Communication and Mass Media houses all student media, which include notable productions such as Channel 8 KNWT-TV, KZLX-LP 106.7 FM radio station, the Heartland Magazine online and the Missourian newspaper (available in both hardcopy and online).  Recently, KZLX-LP has been named as one of three finalists for the Pinnacle Award for Station of the Year from College Media Advisers (CMA) and as a finalist in the Best Sports Broadcast category.  The department is also very instrumental in CatVision.  Will Murphy, TV/Video Engineer, directs this particular program as he and the students work to provide broadcasts of home football games at Bearcat Stadium.

Effective this fall, the curriculum for mass media has been revamped into emphasis areas with sports media as the newest addition.  A few of the classes in the public relations major have been realigned to include more writing and mass media emphasis.  In addition, the communication degree was revised to include new emphasis areas of rhetoric and interpersonal communication.  The department is excited to have this alignment occur.

The primary focus of the Department of Communication and Mass Media is the students' success.  They presently have 300 mass media majors and 120 communication majors.  The students are able to gain valuable experience working alongside faculty and staff throughout various projects (radio station, newspaper, etc.).  These productions provide students the opportunity to learn significantly more about the field they are pursuing.  Students have recently traveled to Albany, Mo to record the concert "Asleep at the Wheel."  They plan to remix and release a CD of the concert.  Experiences like these set them up for real-life applicable learning experiences that the Department of Communication and Mass Media strives to instill in its students. 

To further ensure student success, the Mass Media area includes a Professional Advisory Committee that consists of working professionals in the radio, TV, multimedia, broadcast, social media and public relations fields.  This council's objective is to help drive curriculum and stay current with the rapidly changing industry.

Lastly, we would like to recognize Laura Widmer, assistant professor, for her accomplishments during the past 29 years with Northwest.  Widmer retired from Northwest in July and accepted a new opportunity as the general manager of the Iowa State Daily newspaper.

Listed below are the Department of Communication and Mass Media staff and faculty members: