Building a News Media Legacy
Communication Program Offers Solid Path to the Professional World
Turn on the local television news, and it’s likely you’ll see the work of an Edwards College graduate. Numerous alumni have moved directly into the area news industry since 2005, when the communication program was established within the Edwards College. In addition to marketable skills and a knack for media, these graduates have one common asset: longstanding connections to highly qualified, experienced faculty who have paved the way into the field.
Megan Miller ’08, evening anchor with WBTW News 13, said she appreciates the quality of communication faculty even more now that she’s out in the professional realm.
“I truly hope the students going through the program know how lucky they are,” said Miller. “They have such a solid team of professors who have industry backgrounds, and you cannot put a value on that asset.”
Over the past 17 years, the program has expanded to include concentrations in print, broadcast, and multimedia journalism, as well as television and radio production studios. Having that technology and equipment is helping current students, because they’ll be that much more prepared when they’re out in the world, said Adrianna Seals ’17, WBTW News 13 morning executive producer.
As a student, Lexi Moore ’20, reporter and multimedia journalist at WCBD News 2 in Charleston, said she appreciated and the time and attention that faculty devoted to mentoring.
“I was going to Professor Schumacher and Professor Tutrone every few weeks leading up to graduation, asking what I can do better and checking in with them,” said Moore. “They didn’t just see me as a college student. They wanted to see me succeed in news because they care a lot about us at Coastal, making sure we get to that next step.”
Guiding and facilitating a student’s path from the classroom to the news room is a multi-step process, said Kimberly Schumacher, senior lecturer of broadcast journalism in the Department of Communication, Media, and Culture.
“I do a number of things to help students prepare for graduation and finding those first jobs,” said Schumacher. “I urge them to take advantage of the hands-on opportunities Coastal offers, whether it be experiential courses such as my TV news reporting class, or working for the Chants Sports Network, or WCCU Radio. I also review students’ resumes to make sure they look professional and have all of their experience and skills listed. So often, students list subjective personality traits, rather than the hard skills and experience that employers are looking for. I also coach students for interviews and make sure they understand it’s about what they can do for the station, not the other way around.”
With student-focused faculty, the major will only continue to evolve, proving that Coastal is on the map and the program will garner attention as a top discipline.
“Here in our local television industry and in our market, we are very open to hiring students right out of Coastal,” said Miller. “Everybody knows Coastal -- the name, experience, and the caliber of education here. It’s getting people places, and as an alumni, that is a beautiful thing to say.”
By De’ Anthony Cox