Mass Communication

Stephanie M. Bauer, Instructor

Daniel D. Kistler, Associate Professor

Joan T. Wesman, Assistant Professor

Paul R. Wesman, Assistant Professor

John W. Williams, Professor

The goal of Principia’s Mass Communication program is to inspire students to use their knowledge, skill and talent in the media for constructive purposes—through business, journalism and the arts.

Through our program, students acquire familiarity with and knowledge of current media-related professions, to prepare them for a range of career options. These professions include public relations and advertising, corporate communications, journalism, film, television and video, as well as radio broadcasting and other forms of audio storytelling.

Students also learn the skills essential to working in these media professions. Skills taught include writing, reporting and editing, photography, video and audio production, graphic design, social media, and public speaking. These capabilities are the foundation for effective storytelling of all types, across all media platforms.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, students learn media literacy—developing and applying critical and creative thinking to all aspects of the media industry, including its messages and their effects on individuals and society. Media literacy involves understanding the business context of the media, the importance of informed media use, ethical and legal considerations, global media issues, and the role of media in a democratic society.

With a rich combination of classroom instruction, hands-on experience with professional equipment and facilities, team-based projects, internships, field programs, and academic study—students are exposed to the full spectrum of ideas, skills, and critical thinking they will need to make a positive contribution to the world as Principia-educated consumers and producers of media content.

Departmental Learning Outcomes

  1. Historical Foundations

Mass Communication students need to know the basic timeline of significant media events as well as events in the development of the media itself. They need to understand the differences and similarities between current events and trends and those in the past. Students should be able to explain the connections between developments in culture and the evolution of communication technologies.

  1. Theoretical Foundations

Students of Mass Communication should comprehend the effects of media on society, should be familiar with the forms of research used in the mass communication disciplines, and understand how messages come across differently in different media.

  1. Contemporary Issues in Media

Mass Communication students are exposed to the prominent issues in the field, such as the convergence of information from analog to digital forms, the shifting roles between information providers and receivers and the shifting ethical implications of evolving technologies.

  1. Proficiency in Communicating Across Platforms

Mass Communication students learn how to express ideas and stories through the written word, still images and video, in a clear, compelling, and structured way. They learn proficiency in use of media-related equipment and technology, to collaborate in teams and to develop a sense of quality and excellence.

  1. Awareness of professional ethical standards and Christian Science values in relation to work in the media

Students become familiar with the range of ethical issues that can arise in the mass communication fields and with the accepted ethical standards of these professions. They are encouraged to think through how they would practice these standards in their own work, and to apply their own practice of Christian Science to the decisions they make as professionals in the media industries.

College-Wide Student Learning Outcomes of Principia College: Defining a Liberal Education

The curricular and co-curricular programs at Principia College are designed for students to be lifelong learners, thinkers, and problem-solvers, to draw out spiritual and moral qualities indispensable to growth in Christian Science, and to cultivate an understanding of service to the Cause of Christian Science in meeting the global needs of the 21st century. To accomplish this, the College has established the following outcomes for its graduates. Students graduating from Principia College will:

  1. Demonstrate a depth and breadth of knowledge.
  2. Demonstrate critical and generative thinking.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively.
  4. Be intentional learners.
  5. Be effective members of communities.
  6. Act on the basis of Principle.

MCOM 028Newspaper Production0.0 SH[  ]

Participation in The Pilot-the student-run news publication-through reporting, writing, editing, photography, graphic design, or other staff functions.

MCOM 042Television Production0.0 SH[  ]

Participation in television production activities at the college under the supervision of the faculty advisor.

MCOM 052Radio on Air0.0 SH[  ]

Participation in broadcast activities of the college's radio station, Principia Internet Radio.

MCOM 053Radio Station Management0.0 SH[  ]

Participation in the operations of the college's radio station, Principia Internet Radio.
Prerequisite: MCOM 052.

MCOM 110Intro to Mass Communication3.0 SH[GESS]

Provides an exposure to today's wide range of mass media. Subjects covered include the history, organization, economics, and practices of mass communication - such as print, broadcast, film, Internet, and social media. A heavy emphasis is placed on the importance of developing critical thinking and media literacy skills, to help students interpret media messages in an intelligent, balanced, and realistic way.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

MCOM 140Public Speaking3.0 SH[  ]

Provides opportunities to develop effective oral communication skills applicable in many settings including on-the-job, in management and leadership, and other professional, academic, or community environments. Includes speeches of introduction, informative speeches, persuasive speeches, group discussions, speech research and organization, audience analysis, and delivery skills, such as voice, gesture, movement, and confidence in front of an audience.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only.

MCOM 181Photography Fundamentals3.0 SH[GEA]

A foundation course to learn the craft of digital photography. Students learn how to tell stories visually while developing their photographic skills by learning how to control their cameras and the photographic process. The nature of assignments range from photojournalism to the fine-art type.
Class Level Restriction: Freshman and Sophomore only

MCOM 210Media Reporting and Writing3.0 SH[  ]

A beginning course for those aspiring to work in the media or in a media-related field such as public relations. Students have intensive training in interviewing, gathering information, and writing in a clear, news style. They learn to edit and critically evaluate media writing as well as write to a standard worthy of publication in print or on-line.

MCOM 224Feature Writing3.0 SH[  ]

Instructs students in writing a wide variety of feature stories, ranging from the types commonly associated with newspapers to those in print, broadcast, and online magazine formats.
Prerequisite: MCOM 210.

MCOM 226Opinion Writing3.0 SH[  ]

For students who have mastered the basics of news writing, this class explores the foundations of expressing advocacy and opinion on topics of contemporary significance. Students practice writing and editing editorials, op-ed columns, and reviews.

MCOM 228Newspaper Practicum0.5-1.0 SH[  ]

Practicum for writers/reporters, editors, and staff of The Pilot, the college newspaper. May be offered for variable credit from .5 to one semester hour. May be taken six times up to a total of six semester hours.

MCOM 235Communication Seminar3.0 SH[  ]

This course is tailored to examine recent developments, social trends, and shifting technologies not covered in the regular mass communication curriculum. It could utilize the special areas of expertise when taught by visiting faculty in addition to using the core skills of current faculty. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken twice provided the topics differ.
Prerequisite: MCOM 110 and MCOM 210.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 236Mrs. Eddy and The C.S. Monitor3.0 SH[  ]

This course explores the historical context in which Mary Baker Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor. This includes examination of the period of yellow journalism, relevant developments in Mrs. Eddy's life, and the Monitor's impact in the world of media.

MCOM 240Broadcast Journalism3.0 SH[  ]

This course introduces students to the processes, skills, and ethics of developing, writing, delivering, and producing journalistic content for the broadcast media. Topics covered may include the following: on-air news writing; adapting print news for on-air delivery; producing feature stories and interviews for radio and television.
Prerequisite: MCOM 210.

MCOM 241Television Workshop3.0 SH[  ]

Students plan, write, videotape, edit, anchor, and produce a television news program for broadcast to the community. Topics may range from news to election coverage.

MCOM 242Speech Skills for the Media3.0 SH[  ]

Provides students with a variety of speech skills that would be useful to them in media professions. Among the skills included are interviewing on and off camera, radio and television news reading, extemporaneous speaking, oral reading, group discussion, and impromptu speaking.

MCOM 246Television Practicum0.5-1.0 SH[  ]

Develops television skills through experience working on special broadcasting projects under supervision of mass communication faculty. May be offered for variable credit from .5 to one semester hour. May be taken six times up to a total of six semester hours.

MCOM 251Radio Broadcasting3.0 SH[  ]

Using Principia Internet Radio (PIR) facilities, students create, produce, direct, voice, and operate their own live radio programs and create promotional materials in a variety of formats. Emphasis on effective communication of ideas. Students in the workshop also assist each other in critiquing and improving their work on a regular basis.

MCOM 263Public Relations3.0 SH[  ]

This introductory class instructs students in the theory and techniques of public relations practice: why organizations must deal effectively with various publics, how to write a news release, how to interact with the media. Corporate and agency public relations are both examined. Case studies that highlight effective public relations strategies are considered. A special section on crisis communications is included.

MCOM 266Public Relations Writing3.0 SH[  ]

Students learn to write effectively across a variety of formats and media used by today's public relations professionals. Various forms include press releases; public service announcements; query, pitch, and cover letters; media alerts; features; newsletters; backgrounders; and elements of public relations presentations. There is particular emphasis on strategizing and crafting persuasive public relations messages.
Prerequisite: MCOM 263.

MCOM 281Photojournalism3.0 SH[  ]

An applied study of how photojournalists report the news in a visual form. Working in digital photography, students learn how to capture the peak moment while refining their sense of content, aesthetics, news judgment, and ethics.
Prerequisite: each student must supply a digital single lens reflex camera.

MCOM 282Intermediate Photography3.0 SH[  ]

This course is both a theoretical and a practical study of photography with a particular focus on lighting. Through a critical study of the current and past masters of photography, students work toward defining their own vision and photographic portfolio.
Prerequisite: each student must supply a digital single lens reflex camera.

MCOM 283Yearbook Editing1.0 SH[  ]

Practicum for the editor(s) of The Sheaf, the college yearbook. A team approach is encouraged. May be taken twice.
Prerequisite: member of The Sheaf editing staff.

MCOM 284Photography Practicum1.0 SH[  ]

Practicum for staff photographers of The Sheaf, the college yearbook. Students receive focused instruction on photography including composition, working with subjects, and ethics in photography. May be taken more than once up to a total of four semester hours.

MCOM 286On-Location Digital Media Prod3.0-4.0 SH[  ]

An introduction to graphic design with an emphasis in digital media and design. Develops basic skills in designing with photographs, illustrations, and typography for print and digital media devices. Strategies and processes are examined and developed for work on location. Fundamental design principles are explored in depth. To be taught only on an abroad program.

MCOM 292Video Production3.0 SH[  ]

A foundation course exploring video production in both a theoretical and practical way. Through hands-on assignments, students develop their skills in camera operation, audio, lighting, and editing, as well as gaining experience expressing messages and stories visually. Prior knowledge or production experience is not necessary.

MCOM 293Corporate Video3.0 SH[  ]

Students study the theoretical approaches to creating the very specific video messages that companies and organizations use to deliver corporate messages to internal and external target audiences. Includes practical experiences producing corporate videos for clients on or off campus. Prior knowledge or production experience is not required.

MCOM 301Mass Media in Society3.0 SH[  ]

Explores the relationship between media and society, in particular how one can influence the other. Looks at theories of media impact as well as methods of research to determine those impacts. Includes readings and discussion of contemporary media controversies. Builds a foundation for understanding the power, and limits, of media.
Prerequisite: MCOM 110.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 302Media Law and Ethics4.0 SH[  ]

Study of the legal and ethical foundations of mass media, as well as how they are changing. Explores the constitutional issues of free press and privacy, as well as the regulation of broadcasting and advertising. Taught as a lab course, using case studies.
Prerequisite: MCOM 110.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 322Advanced Reporting and Writing3.0 SH[  ]

The advanced study of print and web journalism, including practice of various styles of writing, ranging from editorials and investigative reporting to features and blogging. Also explores traditional and emerging organizational structures of newsrooms, web sites, and other journalistic entities.
Prerequisite: MCOM 210.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 339Multi-Platform Storytelling3.0 SH[  ]

Course explores the proliferation of new media forms driving the growth of trans-media or multi-platform storytelling. The course teaches both storytelling across different media using the same source material and complex (multi-dimensional) storytelling across multiple media.
Prerequisite: MCOM 210 or MCOM 240.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 354Advanced Radio Broadcasting3.0 SH[  ]

Using the facilities of Principia Internet Radio (PIR), students develop advanced techniques to create, produce, direct, voice, and operate their own live radio programs and create promotional materials in a variety of formats. Emphasis on effective communication of ideas. Students in the workshop also assist each other in critiquing and improving their work on a daily basis.
Prerequisite: MCOM 251.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 388The Photographic Essay4.0 SH[  ]

This advanced study of photojournalism occurs through working in-depth on a specific project culminating in a photo story/essay. Through this course, students expand their photographic skills while further refining their sense of content, aesthetics, news judgment, and ethics.
Prerequisite: MCOM 281, and each student must supply a digital single lens reflex camera.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only

MCOM 392Documentary Video3.0 SH[  ]

Students add to skills learned in previous video classes as they learn to document reality in an informative and entertaining way, telling stories visually about real life.
Prerequisite: MCOM 292 or MCOM 293.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only

MCOM 400Internship3.0-10.0 SH[  ]

Students participate in an off campus pre-professional field experience in media, television, film, radio, photography, graphics, journalism, or public relations. Students have primary responsibility for locating an internship opportunity with the assistance of a Mass Communication faculty advisor.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.

MCOM 411Adv Topics in Communication3.0 SH[  ]

This seminar for juniors and seniors is built around the reading and study of historical and contemporary key non-fiction texts in the field of mass communication linked to a theme, such as the history of media, the foundational differences across the globe, and theories about media impact. The title will be extended to describe the current topic. May be taken twice provided the topics differ.
Prerequisite: MCOM 110 and MCOM 301.
Class Level Restriction: Junior and Senior only.