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Class Notes

In my COMM 100 class, Introduction to Communications, we have a guest speaker each week from one of the different aspects of communication taught at Brigham Young University – Idaho. These are people who have real life experience in the field of communications, and I learn a great deal from them each and every week. Here are my notes of what I learned in class each week.

9 Sep 2010 – Introduction to COMM 100

Today was primarily a day to introduce the course. The purpose of COMM 100 is to help us explore our options within the communications major and help us know what resources are available to us to help us as we make decisions about our majors, and what resources are out there to help us as we come closer to seeking employment and internships.

16 Sep 2010 – I~Comm Introduction

Today’s class was all about I~Comm, the professionally run student media organization at Brigham Young University – Idaho. The purpose of I~Comm is to give students an opportunity to build their profiles and resumes in a professional setting, doing professional work. I~Comm encompasses the Scroll student newspaper, I-News broadcast news program, a public relations firm and an advertising agency. The various departments of I~Comm work together to provide real paying customers a full service experience as if they were working with an organization not run by college students.

The various branches of I~Comm provide students the opportunity to explore their options. There isn’t prior experience required to join I~Comm. You don’t even have to be a communications student. Students are able to stretch themselves and gain valuable experience that makes them more marketable towards employers.

23 Sep 2010 – Video Production

Today’s class was all about video production. One of the most abundant situations in which people are in video production are at local television stations, often working to deliver the news everyday, but there are many other options out there. There’s also television programming ranging from the latest hit show to the lowly daytime talk show, corporate video in which companies create training and promotional videos, freelance work, and more emerging markets like internet television networks. There are also many uses for video in other related communications fields, such as advertising.

Brigham Young University – Idaho offers a video production emphasis within the communications major where students can learn how to produce professional quality video. Of course, a knowledge of current technology is required, as well as experience. Less obvious though, is that employers want to see good communication skills, including writing skills, so that they know you can deliver a message effectively.

30 Sep 2010 – News/Journalism

Journalism is a part of all of our lives. Ranging from the latest weather report to the hard hitting news story, we consume a lot of news each day. Journalists tell stories, connect us to other people and keep people with power accountable. Journalism is about the right to speak. Research has shown that Americans consume 70 minutes of news every day. Even with the rise of blogging, many of those people are linking to traditional journalism. While newspapers may have declining readership, people are still getting news from sources like their websites. And journalism doesn’t include just working for the newspapers or television news programs. There are more and more niche sources out there now allowing people to read specifically what’s important to them, and that’s a growing part of journalism.

7 Oct 2010 – Advertising

Advertising tells people things. The message goes from the advertiser, is encoded into an ad designed for a specific medium, is received by the consumer and eventually feedback comes back to the advertiser. The four P’s of marketing are product, price, place (distribution) and promotion. There’s a number of mediums, purposes, audiences and geographic areas that advertising applies to, and there are an incredible number of jobs that can fall under the category of advertising. There’s also a number of types of ad agencies ranging from ones that do it all, to little specialized medium ones, to in-house ad agencies for large corporations. There are a large number of possibilities in advertising and it seems to overlap with many different areas within other emphases within the communications major.

14 Oct 2010 – Public Relations

Public relations is a very broad topic. It’s an attempt to influence public opinion and build an image for a company, brand, or even an individual. It’s also so broad that it can be hard to be pigeon holed into a particular thing. PR can stand for Performance Recognition. A recent example is the uproar about President Boyd K Packer’s remarks at General Conference. People are attacking the image of the Church, so in response the Church is trying to strengthen their own image. Most importantly, Public Relations is not an even, but a process that takes time.

21 Oct 2010 – Visual Communication

This is a new emphasis within the communications major. Visual media is strongly related to the internet. It’s about optimizing media to look good on a screen because computer screens are becoming an ever increasing method of consuming media. Employers don’t really know what it is that we’re doing because the technology is just too new. However, we’ll be expected to know how to do a variety of things related to the internet. We can’t just specialize in one thing, so we have to be good at doing many things. If we can code a website, take the photos for the website, and then create the company newsletter, employers will really want us. Visual communication is really about being able to be a full-service employee.

28 Oct 2010 – Internship and Career Services

Job qualifications and job hunting skills are equally important. Employers won’t hire someone without the proper skills, but they won’t be able to find someone in the giant sea of potential employees if they don’t have job hunting skills. Internships are a valuable resource. Companies are usually willing to take more risks on an intern and it allows the student to gain real world experience, often in some relatively unfamiliar place. Brigham Young University – Idaho offers many resources to find internships and get hired following graduation. There are hub city service missionaries that work to connect students and employers. There’s also hub expeditions, where for a ridiculously low price students can spend a few days in a major city talking to employers and honing their job hunting skills. There are also many resources at the school to help with job hunting and self-marketing skills.

4 Nov 2010 – Academic Advising Center

Today was all about getting to graduation. The academic advising center on campus is here to help us learn which classes we should take and get ourselves to graduation. Catalog years and graduation requirements are confusing, and they are here to help us make sense of all this. There were also several specialized questions addressed about retakes, applying for graduation, changing majors, the fast grad option and the credit cap at Brigham Young University – Idaho. The main thing though, is that there are a number of ways to get ahold of the academic advising center and work out an individual plan to get a degree.

11 Nov 2010 – Ethics, Plagiarism and Academic Honor

Of course, we all know that cheating is bad, yet a majority of students have cheated. The meat of this class was about copyright law. Copyright law is a large beast that can be very hard to understand. One thing we looked at was the recent Cooks Source scandal, where this particular magazine plagiarized from many different sources. Plagiarism is where you steal someone’s words and use them as your own. Copyright law was created to address plagiarism. You can’t copyright facts, ideas, processes or names (though processes can be patented and names can be trademarked). A copyright holder has exclusive rights to reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, derivative works and moral rights of their work. Of course, copyright doesn’t last forever (though it lasts a really, really long time). When a work’s copyright expires, it becomes part of the public domain and anyone can use it for any purpose. There is an exception to copyright, and that is called fair use. That’s an entirely different discussion for another paragraph though because that’s possibly even more complicated. (To be honest, I already knew most of this stuff. Learning about copyright law was a bit of a hobby for me several years ago.)

18 Nov 2010 – BYU Management Society

The BYU Management Society seeks to help with one of the most important parts of a job search: networking. Networking is one of the most successful ways to find a job, and the BYU Management Society connects alumni and friends of the church schools with students that could be helped by the Society. It also provides the opportunity to get a mentor to individually help us as we seek to break into our careers. Membership is free for Brigham Young University – Idaho students, so there’s really no reason not to join.