A University of Mississippi School of Journalism and New Media integrated marketing communications student was named as a finalist in the World Journalism Education Congress “Imagine the Journalism School of Tomorrow” competition.
Out of 170 applications from all over the world, IMC student Chloe Dwyer’s entry was one of 17 selected to advance in the competition that offered five winners a trip to Paris to present their papers about the future of journalism education at the 5th WJEC.
Journalism schools are the windows of the profession tomorrow. Despite facing unprecedented upheavals, they are not only adapting their courses and programs, but also preparing future journalists.
Dwyer was notified that she will be receiving an official WJEC Paris certificate attesting that she was a finalist in the competition and for her continent, and her ideas contributed to discussions in Paris about the future of journalism education for an audience of more than 500 journalism teachers who attended the WJEC July 9-11. The session was broadcast live on the WJEC internet site and available on replay.
We asked Dwyer, a 21-year-old native of Southlake, Texas, how she became involved in the competition and her thoughts on the future of journalism education.
Q. How the competition came about? Why did you enter?
A. I was taking the web course for Journalism 101 with LaReeca Rucker, and she opened an optional discussion board where we could submit an entry for the competition. The competition was seeking ideas of how we view the future for schools of journalism. The submission could have rewarded you a spot in a conference in Paris, France to present your ideas to a room full of journalism faculty from across the world.
I wanted to enter the competition because I felt this was a topic I could write on so easily, as I’m very passionate about it. I love being an IMC major at Ole Miss because of the many opportunities to learn about such modern forms of business and gain such valuable skills with the excellent resources our academic school provides.
We are very lucky to have Mac desktops fully loaded with the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft Office, to have an easily accessible printing room that allows us to create tabloid-sized projects, and to have the ability to rent equipment to create media projects. Having these resources readily available truly helps the students and faculty excel.
I feel so lucky to be in a program that encourages creativity and sets students up for success. I felt it was important to share how our program provides opportunities for students, and to present ideas of ways I think schools and universities can advance their programs.
Q. What were your thoughts the day you received the email and learned you were a finalist?
A. When I received an email from the conference saying I had been one of the 10 percent of applicants pre-selected, I was so surprised. I thought of this as a great opportunity to submit my ideas and bring some light to our university’s excellent program, but I never thought it would get me far into the competition, as I assumed many people applied.
Q. There were many entries in this competition. Why do you think they selected yours?
A. Since I am very passionate about growing in the creative, hands-on areas of journalism, I included many ways schools could create workplaces and provide resources that can help students find their specific niche in such a large department full of many different potential career paths. I believe that within my submission, the ideas I presented must have stood out in such a large pool of applicants.
Q. What are some of the things you said in the application regarding your vision for the Journalism School of Tomorrow? What elements do you think future journalism schools should have?
A. My vision for the Journalism School of Tomorrow includes a lot of hands-on practices that offer space for creativity for students and faculty. I mentioned how beneficial it has been attending a university that provides me with many great resources, such as camera equipment rentals, recording centers, media centers, tabloid-style and 3D printing, and advanced Mac desktops that are set up with the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office and other creative programming.
I said schools could start implementing media labs in their journalism schools. This space could include many computers that come with all the useful programs installed, such as the entire Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, and other programs that benefit journalism, such as graphic design and digital design. This space could also include iPad Pros with Apple Pencils, or Surface tablets that allow students to create advanced pieces by hand digitally.
I’m sure there are many other devices that could help students create advanced pieces of journalism that I am unaware of, or even that will exist in the future. I think universities could start putting some of their funds towards more forward-thinking machinery that could place their journalism schools far ahead other institutions.
I see this as a way to make journalism schools think about the future. With the rate that all media mediums are evolving around us, there is no reason our nation’s journalism schools should not be striving towards the same goal. I am aware that creating spaces, such as the ones I have mentioned, is an expensive improvement. However, I believe with the right motivation and creativity, it can be done.
Q. What is your vision for the UM School of Journalism and New Media? How do you think it will change in the next decade, or what would you like to see change?
A. It’s hard to say where I see our academic school heading in the next decade, simply because new media is constantly changing and taking us to such unpredictable advancements. However, I feel confident Ole Miss will continue to stay in tune with the most modern forms of journalism and business, and it continues to foster an environment that sets students up for success and prepares them for excellent careers.
Q. You were one of only a few students out of a class of 200 who chose to submit an entry for this competition. And you were named as a finalist out of 170 entrants from all over the world. What advice would you give other students about putting themselves out there, entering some of the contests and opportunities, and applying for fellowships, scholarships, jobs, etc.?
A. I was shocked to only see two other submissions from students in my class for this competition. I am such an advocate for taking advantage of the amazing opportunities Ole Miss provides, especially within the School of Journalism and New Media.
Whether it’s signing up to have a 15-minute meeting with a market researcher of a major company or attending a session to hear how the Oxford Police Department has branded themselves on Twitter so well… these resources are free to us as students and can help you grow in your field of study far more than you may realize.
Along with those resources, many professors will keep you updated on internships, job opportunities, or even involvement on campus that they see could be beneficial for you. Always take advantage of these, because you never know what the outcome might be. In hindsight, I have always found these resources beneficial and will continue to take advantage of them while I can.
Q. What are your plans for the future? What is your dream job?
A. I would love to attend graduate school for IMC or advertising. My dream job would be working on the creative team for advertising campaigns for any major company.
To learn more about our journalism or IMC program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.Tags: Chloe Dwyer, Imagine the Journalism School of Tomorrow, WJEC Paris