Butler University’s student media organizations will merge as part of an expanded, multi-platform enterprise set for launch this fall, College of Communication faculty announced.
New ventures include an internet radio station, increased television coverage through Collegian TV and enhanced output in commercial videos from Deep Blue Productions.
The media group, which has yet to be named, will be independently run. All positions will be paid, and students from all colleges will be eligible to apply.
The aim, creators said, is to prepare students for successful careers in media while simultaneously improving campus news and entertainment.
“When students have the tools and the freedom, they do some fantastic things,” said Nancy Whitmore, an associate professor in CCOM and Eugene S. Pulliam School of Journalism director.
Whitmore, along with professor Kenneth Creech, first conceived the idea of an upgraded, umbrella structure nearly two years ago when CCOM formed.
“It’s the right move,” Creech said. “We felt what was missing was that component that allows students all across the college to really draw on the talents of one another.”
Content will be produced in cooperative fashion and labeled with a common brand and packaging.
Whitmore said the media group will help CCOM recruit and give students an edge in the job market.
Shelby Seibring, a sophomore journalism and strategic communication major who works on “The Butler Beat,” a weekly news show, said she is excited by the media group.
“It’s nice if you can integrate writing and TV, because a bunch of broadcasting is going online,” Seibring said. “It’ll be nice to get experience in both.”
Craig Pinkus, a member of the CCOM Board of Visitors that advised Whitmore and Creech, said the move ends historical isolation between student media and makes the college more attractive to prospective students.
“Kids in high school are going to be highly dependent on steering,” Pinkus said. “Communicating this integrated approach should mean a lot to counselors.”
Interim CCOM Dean Bill Neher approved the proposal last spring. Then-Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jamie Comstock and Vice President for University Advancement Mark Helmus signed off in October.
Comstock suggested that the university create the radio station. Butler once had a traditional station, WAJC, which folded in the 1990s.
Creech said the new station will be based online to follow modern trends. CCOM purchased equipment to allow streaming of sporting events and perhaps performing arts shows.
Butler also used to maintain a television station, WTBU, in the former department of radio and television that existed within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“Those were great venues for the students,” Creech said. “We hear from graduates how valuable those experiences really were. It’s that ‘learning while doing’ that we felt was just not where it ought to be.”
The college is set to invest in new equipment, new cameras and a television adviser to renew its commitment to TV, Whitmore
IndyBlue Records and Publishing, an existing student group, also will receive a shot in the arm under the new enterprise and will produce records for people in the greater Butler community.
Whitmore said the undertakings will teach students things they can’t learn in a classroom.
“As hard as we try and as close as we get, we can’t replicate running a newsroom, a budget, selling advertising, taking criticism, taking praise, handling manipulations,” she said. “The stakes are always so much higher when you really publish rather than hand in a paper for a class.”
Seibring said that will look good on a résumé.
“When you’re in an interview, you can say you have all those experiences,” she said.
Plans for professional workshops are included in the media group’s formation.
“Curriculum revisions are slow,” Whitmore said. “Media changes quickly.”
Creech said the organization is self-financing because all the components either charge for output or sell advertising.
“We’re hoping we can make a substantial amount that will defray most of the costs,” Whitmore
The official name has been withheld, Whitmore said, in order to use the rights for fundraising.
INSIDE THE NEW
-The Butler Collegian
Print, Web & CollegianTV
-Deep Blue Productions
-IndyBlue Records and Publishing
-Internet Radio Station (New)