No matter how comfortable we may be, change is one of the most inevitable aspects of life. As individuals, we are constantly experiencing short-term and long-term changes, both for better and for worse. In most cases, changes can consequently lead to more changes. For the start of the 2017-18 PLNU calendar year, that was the case for the journalism department, which dropped its journalism and broadcast journalism majors and introduced the multimedia journalism major for incoming freshmen.
“One of the reasons I came to Point Loma was to help move this to a multimedia program,” said journalism professor Stephen Goforth. “I wanted to come here because they saw where the industry was going and wanted to prepare students for where things are now.”
According to the course catalog, changes in the new multimedia journalism major included the reduction of upper division literature requirements and the addition of a multimedia workshop that allows students to partake in online publishing.
The change did not come suddenly, but rather over a long period of a time for a critical purpose. As the journalism industry’s expectations of new employees changed with recent progressions in technology, the PLNU journalism department decided that adjustments would have to be made to its requirements in order to better prepare its students for the real world.
“[Employers] are looking for people who can do multiple things,” said Goforth. “It fits where the industry fits. If you’re a TV person, you’re expected to also pick up a phone and shoot a video that way, or write a story online… the lines have been blurred so much that it doesn’t make sense to have them separate anymore. This is what most programs have done already. We’re kind of right where most programs are in terms of that shift.”
When asked if the recent changes within the department would most likely have its benefits, at least one student spoke out in favor of them.
“Majoring in multimedia journalism definitely has its benefits in today’s world,” said freshman multimedia journalism major, Andrew Hansen in an email interview. “News is reported in such a variety of mediums (print, social media, video, pictures, etc.), so it will be helpful to be proficient in a number of them rather than only one area. Versatility is very important in the field of journalism today where convergence has led to most publications having fewer workers that are counted on to do more than in the past.”
With the constant technological progression throughout the world, one must consider how drastic changes within each industry can subsequently affect educational programs across the country, including those at PLNU. Students might not be far off from seeing adjustments and shifts in the requirements within their respective departments.
“As I see it, more and more industries are going to be affected… by the shift in technology,” said Goforth. “There’s all sorts of things on the horizon that will affect higher education, such as artificial intelligence. It’s already impacting the medical and financial industries. It looks like it’s going to have a major impact all the way around, eliminating jobs and shifting things around.”