UMKC creating a multifaceted journalism program

After years of planning by many journalism professors, the university’s communication department is on the verge of cultivating a journalism degree program.

Professors from radio, print and broadcast areas of journalism are joining forces to create a platform to help students become well-rounded, experienced journalists. While they wait for their proposal to be approved by administration, the process of creating a multiplex broadcast studio is currently underway.

Kevin Mullin, the head of UMKC’s Media Lab, is part of the team deciding how the program will run. Mullin’s main focus is to design the studio and make it look professional, despite limited room.

It’s a small space, and that’s been a little bit of a challenge,” Mullin said. “I was told many years ago that on this campus, space is the most difficult resource you can ever ask for, more difficult than money.”

Students in the communication department will see the school’s media production lab upgraded this year. (Source, University of Missouri, Kansas City)

While receiving private funding for this renovation, the team has also acquired a charitable grant from The Hearst Foundation. With this funding, the team hopes to completely revamp classrooms 110 and 111 in the Haag Building and also update equipment in the already existing K-Roo Radio Station. Without disclosing any specific changes, Mullin confirmed that they’ll be starting construction during Christmas break.

Mullin expressed his hope for journalism classes to use the studio starting in the spring 2018 semester.

While Mullin is more in the broadcast production side, Steve Kraske is the group’s expert on print journalism. As head of the Board of Publishers for U-News, Kraske has big plans, aspiring to bring all media forms such as print, radio and TV together and create an online presence representing all forms of UMKC journalism.

We’re looking at offering all three platforms on one online site. That only makes sense to me, and I’m hopeful that we can get that done,” Kraske said, “Exactly what the final site will look like is still a work-in-progress.”

Like Kraske, journalism professor Peter Morello is passionate about the plans for this program. Morello has had 18 years of experience traveling the world and reporting on various issues internationally. From writing to speaking in front of the camera, he knows the value of having experience in every area of journalism possible.

Out of all the students graduating this year, 75-80% of those students will be doing jobs in the next 12 years that don’t exist today. That’s why innovation is so important to us,” Morello said.

(Source, University of Missouri, Kansas City)

As Kraske explained, the degree program is still, “several steps away from the final approval,” but team remains determined to make it a reality. To them, this degree program is necessary for both the students and for the university.

UMKC may not have the money to invest in a lot of things, but they never turn down a good idea,” Morello said.

jac4x3@mail.umkc.edu

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