Reaching Out to the Next Generation of Global Communicators

Posted on: August 6, 2013

For many Michigan youth, their first college experience starts right here at CAS while they are still in middle or high school, or even earlier if they participate in MSU's Grandparents University with our alumni. Over the summer, college faculty, staff and graduate students help create that positive first experience through our summer camps and workshops. Just last week, we hosted 385 aspiring high school journalists, photojournalists and videographers.

The classrooms, labs and hallways of CAS were abuzz with pre-college students participating in the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association (MIPA) Summer Journalism Workshop. MIPA is housed right here in our School of Journalism with CAS graduate and teaching specialist Jeremy Steele serving as its director.

When asked about his observations of the students last week, Steele quickly responded that these students are clearly digital natives. However, they are still very enthusiastic, passionate and competitive about their schools' print publications. The newspaper and yearbook business is going strong in middle and high schools. (Check out the website and photo gallery that students created during the workshop.)

One local daily newspaper publisher alone prints 70 different school newspapers from around the state to take full advantage of his commercial presses and is one of MIPA's largest contributors. As we are seeing around the nation, those newspapers providing rich local content that their readers cannot get anywhere else are the ones that are surviving. Perhaps the continued interest in student-produced print media has some lessons for the newspaper industry at large.

The business side of running newspapers or publishing a yearbook is an integral part of the MIPA Summer Workshop as well. Students can enroll in classes such as "Money Matters," along with a myriad of digital design, illustration, reporting, editing, videography, photography, production and workflow management, and leadership classes. They live on campus in the dorms during the week, sharing ideas and challenges, and whether they realize it or not, laying the groundwork for their future college and career network.

Many of these students will see each other and their CAS workshop instructors again this fall at an even larger MIPA gathering in which more than 2,000 Michigan students and teachers attend at the Lansing Center. MIPA also hosts a program for middle school students at the MSU Student Union and a spring conference at the end of the year. Collectively, nearly 5,000 students interact with MIPA and our School of Journalism on an annual basis, getting a taste for what it means to be a journalist in today's world from a broad array of professionals covering every dimension of the industry.

When you combine the pre-college students who enroll in our summer media camps through the Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media (TISM) department, those  who participate in the Media Sandbox creative high school challenge, and the numerous school groups who tour our WKAR radio and television studios throughout the year and participate as WKAR QuizBuster contestants (celebrating 25 years on air this year), our college truly is helping to shape the future world of global communicators. The amazing experiences that these young students have on the MSU campus and in our CAS studios and labs help light the fire that will help sustain them through college and their careers.

Maybe they will be news editors and reporters; sports commentators, photographers and videographers; travel writers and magazine publishers; political campaign strategists; corporate communication experts; independent bloggers; social media marketing executives; video game designers; or the first international cyber game show host! The possibilities are endless as new media technologies emerge creating career opportunities that we can't even imagine today.

What does all this mean for CAS? In addition to these young students being a lot of fun and bringing a breath of fresh air to our hallways over the summer, they are our future. Having them navigate their way around a Big 10 campus and interact with instructors and classmates from different cultures and backgrounds reassures them that when they graduate from high school, they can set their sights high and pursue their dreams with confidence. In fact, they can do so right here at CAS!


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