Media Studies

Major Emphasis

Students in class as seen October 21, 2019 during the Creosote Affects photo shoot at Washington & Jefferson College.

The media studies emphasis within the Communication Arts major teaches students to analyze and critique news articles and broadcast segments, film, and other contemporary media. The curriculum challenges students to study the ownership of the press to inform their thinking about the messages  conveyed. Courses critique American and international films, which students view both for meaning and as a way to better understand the cultural and social contexts in which the films are made and viewed.

Experiential learning offers students an opportunity to gain real-world experience through courses like COM 391: Audio/Radio/Podcasting. Students in the class designed The Cultural Edge podcast series as an informative, objective debate between co-hosts who take on current hot button issues facing the nation. Designed to mirror broadcast journalism, the podcasts were created  with a narrative structure in mind.

Learning to research and mentored by our faculty, students have presented their work at national conferences. Some students choose to continue their studies in graduate schools with a few alumni  accepted to prestigious graduate programs including CMU, Penn State, and USC.

See courses and more information in the W&J College Catalog.

Media Studies Snapshot

Beyond the Classroom

Our students gain additional experience through department-sponsored programming and off-campus internships to supplement their coursework. We work one-on-one with our students to develop career and internship applications, critical research methods, interview best practices, presentation skills, portfolio building, and networking strategy.

The W&J Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a vibrant campus group of students interested in networking with professionals in the PR industry and learning about future careers. Students become engaged leaders and learn how to delegate, manage and create PR content for local non profit originations.

In the theatre, students  perform, design sets, stage manage, or hone their writing skills by participating in Student Theatre Company productions. Student work assistants coordinate events for the department, and gain experience writing copy and managing communication arts social media accounts.

Experiential learning occurs live, each day at 91.7 FM WNJR, the College’s FCC licensed noncommercial educational radio station. WNJR broadcasts 24 hours a day, featuring an eclectic format of music. Student broadcasters have the freedom to produce a diverse range of independent programming, including talk shows on a variety of topics including sports call-in shows, country music live performances, and college student issues. Students learn and apply skills like interviewing and recording, which are applicable to careers in traditional radio as well as the fast-growing, innovative field of podcasting.

Because our electives and emphases are so varied, Communication Arts majors find internships off campus in a wide range of organizations and fields. Students develop skills in fundraising, donor relations, sports analysis, nonprofit event planning, judicial advocacy, digital production, and web writing. Students have interned at Ford Theatre in Washington, D.C.; MTV; CNN; the Pittsburgh Penguins; CASA; UPMC Health Plan; Mylan Pharmaceuticals; and the Washington Wild Things, as well as in local school districts.

Media Studies Faculty