Award Winning Media Comm Program Receives New Equipment

By Julia Berger Published: Apr 21, 2011

In early April several Media Communication students, faculty, staff and special guests gathered together in the TV studio in the Rupp Communication building to dedicate the recently acquired equipment generously provided by donors in Taylor’s community.

John Bruner, an assistant professor in the department, said, “We've been blessed by the trust and encouragement our donors have shown in us and by the opportunity they've given young Taylor filmmakers to impact the future. I'm deeply inspired by their generosity.”

The new equipment includes superior quality cameras for production students, an 18-foot jib giving the camera a support arm, renovated TV studio control room and a variety of new lighting equipment. Department upgrades, separate from the donors’ investment, include 24 new iMac computers with Adobe Creative Suite CS5 loaded on them. Through these donations and institutional support, students have the opportunity to work with industry standard equipment and take the next step in their education at Taylor.

“Our mission is to develop extraordinary communicators and artists who are marked by professional excellence, passion for serving Christ and a desire to use media in ways that are transformative with our culture,” said assistant professor Kathy Bruner.

Steady Growth and Success for Media Communication
In the past six years alone, the department has grown from just 52 students to 132. With majors in media production, writing, web communications and public relations, students are able to choose the path most applicable to their career goals and gain experience to set them apart.

The department has won well over 75 state, national and international awards just in the last five years. Both the yearbook (Ilium) and the newspaper (The Echo) won several awards from the Indiana Collegiate Press Association. The Echo also recently won four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. Production students have earned a number of awards in the past year: Ryan Gates (‘10), Ryan Klaver (‘10) and Kelsey Getzin (‘11) recently won the prestigious Cine Golden Eagle Award for their documentary “Amend.” Dave Baker, a senior production major, recently won first place in the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters for the Corporate Video category. Baker and seniors Taylor McKillop and Tim Kerigan all spent fall semester working on a corporate identity piece for Creative Dining Services, located in Michigan, which will be used in their new employee training program.

Senior writing major Andrew Morgan reflects on his growth as a result of the department. “Developing communication skills has been a huge part in my development in this program, not just in a writing sense, but in a speaking and an artful sense. I’ve seen myself improve just basic grammatical rules of English, but also being able to diversify my writing so I can write in web, magazine and all the other types of writing you can do.”

Graduates Well-Prepared for Careers with NBC, Disney, etc
Graduates from the program have found the department prepared them well for their careers. Recent 2010 graduate employment includes mainstream companies such as Disney, Focus Features and National Geographic. Other graduates are enjoying their work with the foundation of knowledge, experience and overall value of storytelling they gained through the program. Both Tim Sutherland (‘07) and Jason North (‘09) shot and produced an independent documentary about Mark Beckford, which was later accepted into the Heartland Truly Moving Pictures in Indianapolis, Ind. last fall.

Andrew Morgan works in the Media Comm labSutherland, now located in Los Angeles, Calif., currently works on the NBC show “Harry’s Law” as a digital imaging technician. He said the hours are very long with a lot of hard work, but enjoys the fun moments when viewing the final product. He also has an appreciation for the industry in general.

“The most amazing part of working in this industry is how everyone has one job to do, and they don't get in each other's way,” Sutherland said. “It's like a very defined community, and when you get to watch people who are extremely skilled at making their part of the machine work, it gives you a whole new appreciation for how this art form works.”

Morgan learned written storytelling requires a “different level of understanding” and responsibility in the process and final product. “You’re not only representing yourself, but also a lot of other people,” Morgan said. “It’s important to accurately represent people.”

Regardless of the specific focus, students in the media communication program graduate with practical experience, developed skills and many opportunities to enter a wide variety of careers with very reputable and exciting companies.

Written by Julia Berger