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OSMC Conducts Annual Curriculum Review for the Journalism Program

In the Summer quarter, Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) conducts an annual curriculum review for its journalism program. The review committee has proposed some major changes to both undergraduate and graduate programs, which will reflect the latest industry standards.

The new programs will adopt a more specialized, skill-orientated, and result-driven educational model. While the principles of journalism and basic reporting will remain as the fundamental part of the education, students will be trained to tell stories in multimedia format – with texts, photos, videos, and graphics. More in-depth courses that focus on a specific skill will be added so that students can learn to master a certain medium.

The new curriculum will be facilitated by new equipment and production facilities. Students will be trained on professional gears, following the benchmark set by the industry. For example, the Associated Press has announced to equip all visual journalists globally with Sony imaging products from Summer 2020. Mirrorless cameras will be used as a standard for student work, instead of the traditional DSLRs.

A new study track or certificate program specialized in the application of information technology in media will be introduced. Students will be able to choose to study some trending topics such as big data, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR) production, live-streaming and other mediums.

The review committee will complete the draft of the new curricula next month after conducting more meetings with faculty and consultants of specific subjects.

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OSMC Social Media Course Revised with Emphasis on Creating Engaging Content

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) will introduce a revised social media course with an emphasis on creating engaging content in the Spring quarter.

Previously, the social media course curriculum was designed to train journalists who use social media for breaking news, story leads, gathering information, and curating content. Students learn to use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram generally for gathering and dissemination of information. However, so much has changed in this past year as other new platforms such as Tiktok and Clubhouse rose to popularity in America and beyond. Therefore, the curriculum is being redesigned to fill in the knowledge gaps.

Strategic content creation on social media would be a major emphasis of the redesigned course. Students will delve into the essence of making effective and engaging content- creating the experience and defining the voice. How to balance authenticity and professionalism on social media platforms? How to give a different “pitch” to the very different segments of the audience? These are some examples of in-depth questions that the new social media course will deal with.

OSMC curricula review panel examines all courses every year to adjust or redesign course content to keep abreast of the latest development in the media industry.

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Media School Introduces New Elective Course in Data Journalism

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) introduces a new elective course in data journalism in the Winter quarter. Students get to explore new ground in storytelling by interpreting statistics and data visualization.

Professor Stayman Hou designed the course with emphasis in the application and tools for reporting. From collection, analysis to presentation of data, the course covers the methodology for each step. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to conduct computer-assisted reporting; generate infographics from data; utilize data visualization tools; and add interactive visualization elements to a website.

Apart from the technical aspect of data journalism, Professor Hou pointed out the ethical issues involved. He showed many real-life examples of how wrongful interpretation of data may result in misleading or even fake stories. He reminded students to upload the very fundamental values of journalism – truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness, and accountability – when handling data and statistics.

Journalism students are excited to learn about this new subject as an elective course and give positive feedback.

“Since I need to review many numerical reports on a daily basis in my ministry, I found the Data Journalism course to be very useful,” said first-year graduate student Steven Kim.

“I have realized the importance of interpreting data. With various historical examples of good data journalism and bad data journalism, I learn to provide accurate data with a good purpose so that no one might be misled. Data visualization skims down complicated data into simple graphs for public understanding, which is very refreshing. I can apply many things I learned in this course to my work,” added Kim.

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Media Sales Course Prepares Students for Ad Business Management

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) launched a brand-new course “Media Sales” last quarter and evaluations are showing that students were highly satisfied with the course content. Results showed that it has helped them understand the business aspect of the media industry and primed them for entrepreneurship.

The 10-week course provided a comprehensive study of media sales with topics including the digital advertising ecosystem, fundamentals of programmatic, digital ads formats and platforms, ad technology and media math, digital media law and compliance, as well as selling and managing ad campaigns.

At the end of the course, students demonstrated digital media sales competency and more importantly – committed to upholding the standards of ethical and professional practice in the industry. The course is modeled after the training by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), which sets the industry standard for digital advertising sales.

As newsrooms across the nation struggle to thrive in the competitive digital content-based economy, a basic understanding of media business would enable aspiring content creators to pioneer sustainable models.

Hyojung Kim, who currently serves in the media ministry, found the course very practical. He said, “the course offers a walkthrough of the entire process from media sales to campaign management so that I could understand the full picture of my work. It improves my capability in ad sales to match with the professional industry standard.”

Zike Zhang, who interns as an information technology analyst this quarter, remarked the course has brought him to a new level in his profession.

“I was new and knew almost nothing about media sales before. During my internship this quarter, I have an opportunity to work on AdOps, which I am happy to learn about. This course helps to flatten my learning curve by introducing the industry terminologies, technology tools and standard workflow. I am now confident to communicate with my colleagues and clients professionally, and to deliver excellent business services. I highly recommend all media students to take this course. Thank God! God is so faithful that He provides exactly what I need at the right time,” Zike shared.

OSMC plans to offer the course again in the coming quarters with additional course content that can enhance the student’s transition into the sales field.

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OSMC to Hold Special Seminars on History of America and China

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) plans to hold a series of seminars on the history of the United States and China in August and September.

Journalism is basically “history on the run” because each piece of news is written as new facts are updated and verified. A deep understanding and sense of history enables journalists to see beyond the “who”, “what”, “where”, “when” that is happening today and to explain the “why” and “how”, therefore elevating their perspectives in reporting world events.

The first objective of the seminar series on the U.S. and China history is to help journalism students get the solid historical facts. Secondly, the seminar series aims to refine students’ viewpoint in politics, opening their eyes to see that God IS at work. The American society today is torn apart because of the differences in ideologies; many people are left in confusion and agony. By tracing back to the Christian root, values and true spirit of America, Christian journalists today can boldly speak of the hope that we have in the Lord Savior Jesus Christ.

The seminars will be based on carefully selected documentaries about the U.S. and China. Each session is about three hours with documentary screening and guided discussion. All students are welcome.

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Media Students Study Communication Techniques in Workplace and Group Settings

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) launches the redesigned general education course “Speech and Communication” in the Spring quarter to help undergraduate students develop communication skills in public speaking, small group interaction, and interpersonal relationships.

Demonstrating professionalism in speech and conduct at the workplace is essential for building successful working relationships with co-workers. The course is structured in a step-by-step manner to help students prepare a presentation from speech writing to final delivery. Students will learn to overcome the fear of public speaking and present with confidence.

Most of the study materials in this course are based on the experiences of a professional speaking coach. Students will also examine and analyze examples of public speeches by U.S. presidents, celebrities, athletes, and activists.

The course is offered online this quarter for students in California, Washington D.C., Europe, Africa, and China.

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Journalism Students Practice Audience Engagement on Social Media

In the social media management class, journalism students explore various ways to engage the audience on social media with ethical responsibility in mind.

Social media has become a major player in the media world as a tool for communication and disseminating news. Journalists today must develop skills to utilize social media for breaking news, story leads, gathering information and curating content. Building and engaging audiences through social media is another required competence as media professionals. Web traffic analytics shows that social media such as Facebook and Twitter accounted for a large percentage of page views.

Second-year graduate student Zike Zhang was not particularly active on Facebook and Twitter to read news and find leads prior to taking the social media management class. But now he’s involved with a local ministry that starts Facebook brand pages. Zhang is learning to manage those pages on a daily basis though studying the best practices for social media in class. He finds the learning experience complete by actually creating posts and conversing with the audience.

“The social media class is pretty useful for me. When I manage my Facebook brand page, I realize that more important than growing the number of followers is to build a genuine relationship with my audience. This means I need to listen carefully to know their thoughts and needs,” Zhang said.

Since an enormous amount of information is being shared on social media and anyone can post anything without verification, Zhang said he realized the challenges that social media pose on journalism.

“The question for people today is whether or not to use social media, but how to use social media responsibly. The line between professional journalists and amateurs becomes blurred. But to me, challenges means opportunities. I will try my best to apply journalism ethics on social media and contribute positively to the conversations,” Zhang added.

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DC Journalism Students Experience Personal Growth Through Ministry Internship

Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) Washington D.C. campus offers various ministry internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate sophomore Abby Peng and senior graduate student Sarah Murugan, who transferred from Riverside main campus to D.C. last year, reflect on their personal growth and professional development.

What do you do for your Ministry Internship in D.C.?

Abby: I write for a local church and preschool about their activities and development. The articles are published in their weekly bulletin.

Sarah: I intern for The Christian Post as a news reporter. I find leads from Christian organizations and news outlets to report about issues that concern Christians in India.

How does the internship prepare you for serving in the media ministry?

Abby: The internship provides me opportunities to practice interviewing and writing. As English is my second language, keep practicing it does help improve my communication skills.

Sarah: The internship broadens my knowledge and sense of news judgment. It sharpens my perspective to look at current events from a Christian point of view. Though I still have so much to learn, now I begin to have a strong desire to know the truth and report it without fear, which I think is important to my future ministry.

What is the greatest lesson you learned from your internship?

Abby: The greatest lesson I have learned from my internship is to cultivate curiosity about things happening around me and find more interesting leads.

Sarah: Persistence and persistence. There is no easy way out to good reporting.

What is your aspiration as a media professional?

Abby: I wish I can write more articles to encourage the Christian body and spread the good news to testify to God’s work.

Sarah: I want to be a journalist who speaks on behalf of those who are ignored and denied justice, telling the truth without bias.

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Riverside Media Team Continues Work on Olivet Seminary Lecture Video Project

The Media Team at Olivet University Riverside campus is continuing its work on producing Olivet Seminary’s first lecture series delivered by Dr. William Wagner. The first unit of the series has been sent to Olivet Seminary for review and feedback to plan for the next step.

The theme of the said lecture series is “Church Planting – Perspective from the Book of Nehemiah.” Dr. Wagner uses the book of Nehemiah as the basis for formulating a step by step method for missionaries to start a new church. On one hand, the lectures talk about methodology; on the other hand, Dr. Wagner shares about his mission field experience as examples to help students think about the actionable steps.

Both the academics and media team are collaborating to produce a high-quality product. The media team is working on adding relevant bible images and video clips as visual references in the lectures. Curating the specific images particular to the lecture content does not only depend on the aesthetics but also requires historical and biblical literacy. Sometimes, the content would require moving graphs and texts to be made by graphic designers.

The media team and Olivet Seminary will continue to discuss how to continue making the video lecture project more efficient and sustainable. Discussions have included setting up the proper facility, acquiring equipment and data storage systems, as well as forming a dedicated media and IT support team for this particular project.

DC Journalism Extension Site Builds on Narrative Training

The Olivet School of Media and Communication (OSMC) students will be expecting to see a selection of narrative based offerings as they begin classes at Olivet University’s Washington D.C. extension site.

The site’s course offerings for Winter quarter include Feature Writing, Social Media and Audience Development, Ministry Internship, and Journalism Capstone. For the “Feature Writing” course, students will produce narratives and other creative stories that are built from facts but go beyond the hard news format to engage readers. The course breaks down the process of developing nonfiction narratives, from understanding story theory and structure to mastering point of view. The basic elements as scene, action, and character, to drafting, revising, and editing work are essential skills for journalists in the professional field.

The “Social Media and Audience Development” course will cover strategic content creation, social media analytics tools and user experience. At the end of the course, students will have to design a social media strategic plan for their selected brand.

The “Ministry Internship” and “Journalism Capstone” are specially designed for senior journalism students. In collaboration with media companies in Washington D.C., students will be producing journalistic pieces and media products that are fit for publication.

OSMC’s Washington D.C. extension site offers selected courses from the B.A. and M.A. in Journalism program as well as Non-degree, 1-year certificate programs in Advanced News Writing, Multimedia Journalism, and Digital Journalism. The site also provides internship opportunities and limited residential capacities. For more information, visit https://osmc.olivetuniversity.edu