Getting ready for a changing world

The great power of digital media has influenced how we interact with one another, how we view the world and our peers in it, and even influenced how we get ours news and break it down into fact versus fiction. Social psychologists worldwide have published multiple studies in recent years explaining that the vast acceptance of digital and social media has rewired our brains and has a drastic effect on our market buying and even the actions that we make each day. Ultimately, digital media has changed how we live our lives.

And while billions of users take part recreationally in using digital and social media each and every day, that usage has fashioned a job market for those interested in journalism, public relations, social media and digital media. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has recently projected a 14 percent increase in the need for digital multimedia specialists, which includes employment positions such as social media managers, public relations professionals, editors, technical staff, digital media producers and even digital and print media journalists.

Iowa Central Community College has boasted a successful journalism program for some time, and beginning in the fall of 2014 will expand that major to include a Digital Mass Communications program, which will meet the growing demand for digital multimedia specialists. Pending final approval from the Iowa Department of Education, the new Associate of Applied Arts in Digital Mass Communications will prepare students for many exciting positions within the communications industry including digital and social media, journalism, and public relations.

Scope of program

Instruction will include ethics and media law, news gathering and reporting, photography, public relations, desktop publishing, social media and mobile reporting. In order to enhance each student’s learning opportunities, they will be given real world, hands-on learning opportunities to put their new-found understanding to work using the same technology found in the workplace or newsroom setting. Students will be live tweeting events in and around the Fort Dodge area, creating and maintaining an interactive online magazine, and creating and publishing The Collegian, Iowa Central’s student newspaper. Students will also maintain social media content, create podcasts and become experts in the software used in the digital media workplace. Digital Mass Communications students will also learn the skills to craft stories, messages and a voice for digital content and social media.

Iowa Central’s new Digital Mass Communications major promotes student creativity, independence and critical thinking as valuable skills in an ever-changing and technology-driven world. The program promotes creative problem-solving skills as well as a thorough technical background aimed at providing students with educational and professional career opportunities in both artistic and commercial settings.

Students will also be given the opportunity to complete an internship or service learning project as part of the program, giving them valuable real world experience in the workplace. Upon completion of the degree program, students will also have created a digital media portfolio showcasing a wide range of print and digital media applications which they have mastered, and in turn, can take to their new employer.

With the new Digital Mass Communications program, Iowa Central Community College is now one of only three community colleges in the state of Iowa to provide a major program in digital media, and the only one in the state to focus on new media journalism and public relations.

To learn more about the new Digital Mass Communications major or to register for the program, contact Kelli Bloomquist at 574-1058 or at Bloomquist-K@IowaCentral.edu.

Kelli Bloomquist is the adviser for The Collegian, Iowa Central Community College’s student newspaper and is a subject matter expert in the field of digital and print journalism. Bloomquist has created all programming for the new Digital Mass Communications major.