Changes coming for JOMC department ahead of Fall ’21 reopening


Crosby Hall, Courtesy of Jamille Whitlow

Jamille Whitlow, TheYard Editor

Since the university’s vaccination rollouts, the JOMC department’s focus is to provide resources and enhance students’ skills while reverting back to in-person classes and workshops. 

The department is hoping to have more in-person events and bring back events with partners similar to companies like Netflix, Disney and ESPN. Prior to the pandemic these companies visited the campus often for recruitment and workshop events. 

The department’s most recent partnership with the NBCU Academy allows students to be a part of a multiplatform educational training program and have Comcast, owner of NBC Universal and NBC, fulfill their goals in increasing diversity and inclusion. 

The NBCU Academy is partnered with 16 other schools and has pledged 100 million dollars towards diversity and inclusion. Comcast plans to increase their workforce by 50% women and 50% people of color. 

Due to the pandemic, the NBCU Academy’s workshops are virtual. Their workshops include employees of NBC Universal, MSNBC, CNBC and other companies within Comcast to talk about their careers with students. 

An upcoming workshop for students to participate in the NBCU Academy is “Invest in You: Finding your Financial Success”. It is a virtual town hall where students can ask about personal finance skills and how to achieve financial independence. Students can RSVP via email or on NBCU Academy’s site, the event takes place on Apr. 14, from 1- 2 p.m.

The partnership will provide scholarship opportunities and have new courses added to the department’s current curriculum or complement the curriculum.       

 Gail Wiggins, associate professor and interim chair of the department of journalism and mass communications, gave an example of how the NBCU Academy could infiltrate their resources into the curriculum’s current classes. 

“For instance, in our business reporting class, how great would it be to have a Masters course taught by MSNBC vice president and manager, Rashida Jones to teach that course,”
Wiggins said. “Imagine having  an Advanced storytelling course on pitching story ideas taught by Harry Smith or other individuals or talent from NBCU.” 

To ensure students have hands-on skills, the university created practicums for different fields of journalism. For students interested in radio, they have the radio station, the department’s newscast is a practicum for students to develop hands-on skills and many more options are offered. 

By Fall 2021, the JOMC department will have a public relations agency available for students to take as a practicum and build their portfolio. 

The department has a strategic plan for the next 5 -10 years ahead in meeting the needs of the journalism industry. Wiggins explains what the department plans to implement. 

“ We are conducting a feasibility study as of now to look into graduate programs that we can offer within our own department,” Wiggins said. “As  part of a graduate program, we are looking at certification programs. This would be possible for students who have been out of school for one or two years, a short certification course.”  

The feasibility study consists of the department’s faculty members that review the school’s programs and talk to industry professionals to determine what will be best for the JOMC department.