Do too many letters scare you? No worries, I'm here to break down the MJD major here at Saint Mike's to make it understandable to an outsider. So, let's start with the most frequently asked question:
Is there a journalism major at Saint Michael's College?
Sometimes, when people ask me what my major is (even other students at SMC) and I say "MJD," I just get blank stares. Instead of explaining, I might take the easy out: "That means I'm a journalism major."
So the answer? YES, there is a journalism major at Saint Michael's College. Its official name is Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts. It didn't always have this name, though. Up until the year before I got to Saint Mike's, it was simply called Journalism and Mass Communication.
So why the change?
Journalism is an incredibly fast-paced field, not only on the career level but on a technological level as well. People are changing the way in which they receive and analyze information, and those working within this industry need to have the skills and knowledge to work with various forms of media outlets and specific styles of presentation for those outlets.
What exactly does studying MJD entail?
As you may have guessed, we can actually break down what we learn in the major into three specific categories:
M for Media Studies: This is an important component to the major that is actually quite unique to Saint Mike's, as many other colleges might overlook it. If Journalism students are going to use the media to publish information, they must realize and understand the influence they might have on others, as well as the influence that media technology has on them as individuals. There are a lot of studies on the way technology changes the way humans think, as well as the way technology changes the media. In order to study technology and the media itself, we discuss the differences between various media forms, such as the information you might get from a physical or online newspaper compared to a blog, TV news channel, or even an advertisement. We look at the evolution of technology and the media as well as consider what it might be like in the future.
J for Journalism: This is the traditional part of the curriculum that most people are more familiar with. Classes like Investigative Reporting and Writing for the Media focus on the questions we might ask as journalists and how to report strong, interesting and informative stories to the general public. We also take a look at how to do this in a global setting: something that is becoming more and more important in our fast-changing and interconnected world.
The major also offers a concentration in journalism, which means that you'd take more of these classes rather than ones that might focus more on digital navigation and design.
D for Digital Arts: This is the part of the curriculum that provides the basic skills for learning how to navigate a digital world. We learn how to create websites, film, animation, audio recordings, digital photography, and various other forms of "new" media. Making these steps within the realm of digital arts provides the foundation for a lasting skill-set that is beneficial for anyone entering the workforce to have.
What do other students say about the MJD major?
Well, I'm clearly biased in my opinion, because I never try to hide the fact that I absolutely love the work I do here. For me, learning this stuff is tons of fun. I also think that the MJD staff and students are the best in the world. And I really mean that! It's a great community here. But, if you don't take my word for it, maybe you can take some of theirs:
Gabbi Hall, a current senior, lives for social media. See what she has to say about our newest class on the topic!
Juliana knows that MJD is definitely for her!
Here's a post from Jessica about a cool MJD class.
And here's another Lauren who has a lot to say about MJD!
More about the MJD department at SMC
Required courses for the MJD major
Click here to read posts about my personal experiences in the MJD major