Broadcast Journalism Helps Mold Students into Multimedia Producers

by Rashad Mulla

Broadcast Journalism Helps Mold Students into Multimedia Producers

In one swift move, Patriots' forward Mike Morrison zipped a sizzling behind-the-back pass to Vertrail Vaughns for an easy layup. Broadcast journalism student Evan Milberg, at the game on a class assignment, captured a golden clip. 

David Miller, who teaches many of the communication department's video offerings, will be at the helm of COMM 353. Miller, who worked for the National Gallery of Art and the television network UPN before teaching broadcast journalism for the last 15 years in higher education, believes students who can tell a story and are willing to put in the effort can benefit from the class.

"Throughout the semester, students put together a package of stories that they can show to prospective employers," Miller said. "The reward in the end is that they pick up a salable, practical skill that they can use anywhere. They start building their multimedia portfolio right away."

Although talk of multimedia portfolios and video production can be daunting to the uninitiated, the class is designed to teach students the very basics of video. Students learn how to operate, set up, and position a camera, how to frame shots and scenes, and how to get crisp audio and adequate lighting. Miller also instructs students on the craft of writing, researching, and interviewing for the broadcast medium.

By the end of the semester, students will have progressed greatly in their video storytelling skill. Miller keeps a YouTube channel, COMMGMU399, which documents his students' work. Watch a courtside camera capture Morrison's poetic artistry in a sequence not unlike what you might see on ESPN. Immerse yourself in the world of the Gem, Mineral and Fossil Show with Michael Carvajal or take a front row seat with Stephanie Longueira for the Rock the Runway fashion show.

"If you have something to say, I can teach you the skills you need to say it," Miller said. "I'm very much a hands-on person, and I’m a firm believer in students learning by doing." 

While these skills have practical benefits, they also can buoy students in a tough economy, in which the journalism field takes huge hits. A lot of students gain interest in video because they are aware of these tumultuous times.

"Our field has experienced tremendous changes during an era of digital convergence," Miller said. "Nowadays, students must know how to write, take pictures and shoot video, and this course provides the opportunity for students to learn how to produce multimedia." 

The class is a lot of work – Miller estimates that students must spend at least 3 hours a week on assignments and video practice outside of the classroom – but it is well worth it. 

"I want my class to provide a foundation for students to go on. Hopefully, COMM 353 will be the spark."

See some past COMM 353 student work below:

Evan Milberg: George Mason vs. Harvard

Samantha Gray: Hunger and Homelessness Action Week