Communication and Public Relations

The Communication and Public Relations major is designed to develop students’ theoretical and practical skills related to this technologically evolving field. This major prepares students for careers in a variety of fields where crafted communication is an integral part of the professional activity. Career options include, but are not limited to: journalism, broadcasting, digital communication, advertising and public relations. Ultimately, a PR and Communication major understands fundamental approaches to communicating through media, and can apply these to an evolving discipline.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand and apply historical and theoretical frameworks of communication
  • Create ethical and responsible media
  • Write, report, document and package information in a variety of appropriate formats for print, broadcast and web
  • Know and employ individual and team presentation skills
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills in various formats based on the needs of the message, audience and client
  • Gain practical experience in an industry media outlet

Major Requirements

  • COM 1201 Introduction to Journalism I
  • COM1212 Introduction to Video Production
  • COM1281 Introduction to Mass Communication
  • COM1410 Digital Photography I
  • COM2630 Writing for Media
  • COM 3240 Media Law and Ethics
  • COM 3201 Public Relations
  • MKT 1450 Principles of Marketing
  • VDA 2613 Graphic Design I
  • COM 4899 Internship
  • COM 3680 Communication Research

Chose one from

  • ENG 2213 Public Speaking
  • THR1420 Fundamentals of Acting/Acting I

Chose two from

  • COM 1202 Introduction to Journalism II
  • COM 1400 Introduction to Broadcasting
  • COM 3450 Feature and Opinion Writing
  • ENG 2280 Professional and Technical Writing
  • COM 3261 Interactive Media
  • COM 3830 Digital Media Applications

Minor Requirements

  • COM1281 Introduction to Mass Communication
  • COM 3201 Public Relations

Choose one from the following courses:

  • COM1201 Introduction to Journalism I
  • COM2630 Writing for Media

Additionally, one from the following courses:

  • COM1212 Introduction to Video Production
  • COM1410 Digital Photography I

Plus at least two elective courses in Communication or Visual and Digital Arts

Course Descriptions

An introduction to the basics of print Journalism, including reporting, editing, newsroom management, news judgment, news writing and an overview of ethical and legal concerns. Students will analyze the way different local media cover breaking and feature news. The course provides the basic skills required for identifying, gathering, writing and editing news stories for newspapers. CO-REQUISITES: ENG1201 or ENG1601 or permission of intructor

Students will study theories of mass communication and the role that mass communicators play in modern society. The rise of print and electronic media will be discussed in detail. Special attention will be given to the rights, responsibilities and practices of mass media and merging trends.

Fundamental visual art principles constitute the basis of effective visual communication. This hands-on course explores these fundamentals while applying the creative approaches unique to digital photography. Students will learn how to use advanced digital cameras (DSLR) to create an on-line portfolio, as well techniques to manage and archive media. In addition, students will develop a framework to analyze and evaluate photographs, whether created by themselves or others. PREREQUISITE: None

An introduction to the basic principles and techniques of writing for the media. Formats include informational, persuasive and entertainment content for a variety of audiences across different types of media and platforms. Students will write scripted material for traditional media (radio, TV, and print) and produce written content across various digital platforms, including podcasts, streaming audio/video, social media and other web-based industries. PREREQUISITE: None.

This course covers the rights and responsibilities of mass media practitioners, such as reporters, editors, moderators, influencers, etc., as well as the impact of conglomeration on mass media. This course looks at the values of those who work in the news/information business and the moral dilemmas they face in an increasingly complex and litigious society. The course includes lectures, case studies and guest speakers. Topics covered include privacy and an overview of libel law and the impact of conglomeration on the news business in general. PREREQUISITES: ENG1202 or ENG1602

Students will explore theories of Public Opinion, Mass Communication and Audience Research and apply that learning toward creating targeted messages in media such as print, direct mail, broadcast and cable television, web and mobile phone applications.

Marketing is a key activity that enables businesses and organizations to achieve their goals by satisfying the needs of others through mutually beneficial relationships. This course will provide students with an understanding of important marketing theory and practices, including: the marketing concept; the marketing environment; market segmentation, product positioning; product and brand strategies; pricing strategies, marketing communication strategies; distribution strategies; consumer and business buying behavior; and electronic marketing.

In this introductory class, students with learn graphic design production skills. A focus will be on developing proficiency with the industry standard software tools of InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Students will learn the fundamentals of designing communication materials, including: how to effectively convey a message whether with typography, images or symbols. Logo design and branding will be covered. Students will create communications pieces that benefit the AIC community.

One of the strengths of the communication program is the close relationship the program enjoys with the local, regional, and national media. Communication students are required to take at least three credits of professional learning experience in the media and are encouraged to take as many as 12 credits. Students document their professional learning through a compilation of published stories, podcasts, blog entries and other forms of media. Students have completed internships at 91.9FM/New England Public Media, WWLP TV-22, Western Mass News,102.1FM/WAQY, as well in many local/regional video production studios, public relations firms, and marketing agencies. Summer internships can be arranged so that students continue their professional growth during recess and the program already has a proud record of graduates being placed in media jobs. PREREQUISITES: Permission of the department chair and approval of the dean of the School of Arts, Education and Sciences. PREREQUISITE: None

This course explains the basic concepts of media research. Included are measurement and methodologies for measuring the effectiveness and impact of mass mediated messages (from radio, newspaper and TV to web site hits). Recognition tests, recall and association tests, opinions and attitude ratings, projectile methods, laboratory testing, and content analysis are each explained and studied. Research applications focus mainly, but not entirely, on consumers of mass media. Quantitative as well as qualitative methods are discussed in detail.

This course provides practice in the construction of speeches, analysis of appeals to various audiences, and development of the speaking voice. It is a practical course offered to fit the needs of students in all fields. In cases of over-enrollment, seniors will be given preference.

This course introduces students to the study and practice of acting for the theater. They will acquaint themselves with physical and vocal warm up activities to harness and understand of the actors body. Students will read plays and will develop one monologue and one scene over the course of the semester from one of the plays read. Students will engage in acting exercises to enhance focus, clarity of thought, a better understanding text, a better understanding of objective driven action and vocal and physical transformation and character development. For each character played students will create a character biography and character journal prior to final performance of scene and monologue. This course also provides a space in which students can harness skills in public speaking, development of confidence and poise, and focus in any given situation.

Building on the skills taught in COM1201, students will learn to develop news sources, cover beats, such as the courts and local politics, and write feature length news stories including breaking news, obituaries, and government. Students will learn the rights of reporters and use of the Freedom of Information Act to gain access to public records.

The Communication Department programs and operates 91.9 WAIC FM as a learning laboratory for our students. This course provides an overview of the broadcasting business and provides training in various aspects of broadcasting, including scheduling, traffic, advertising and ratings, basic engineering, announcing and practice in news and informational radio.

This course is an introduction to writing the various journalistic forms that express personal opinions, including news analysis editorials and personal opinion columns. Current examples from local and national press will be discussed.

This meets the requirement as a writing intensive course in the major. A comprehensive treatment of the theory and practice of business communication and the development of skills in presenting technical information, with emphasis on the effectiveness of expression through written correspondence, reports, technical manuals, and job resumes. Writing as a rewriting process will be stressed. Students will investigate the development of business and technical literature from idea to draft, to final product.

Digital multimedia projects in mass communication will be developed from among advertising, journalism, public relations, radio and television genres. The purpose of this course is for students to produce multimedia projects. In the process, students will use their individual writing, reporting, photographic and audio/video skills to develop a concept, produce separate elements and finally assemble the project. This project, whether burned to a DVD or posted on the web, will include text, graphics, photos, audio and video. Laboratory fee charged.

The course covers the technical and creative aspects of transmitting converged media across a wide variety of platforms. This course utilizes student’s skills in digital video photography, editing, and sound, emphasizing the potential of multiple platform presentation including social media, television, cable, streaming, and emerging media. Students will learn the importance of compressing/encoding media, non-linear editing, audio/video production and more. PREREQUISITE: COM1212 or COM1400

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