Communications

Innovation, adaptation and change are hallmarks of the communications industries. News organizations shift publication philosophies to address digital platform preferences, altering practices in terms of deadlines, timing, format, graphics and skill sets. Corporations communicate directly with a variety of audiences through social and digital media, and not just to sell products—consumers want to know about corporate social responsibility initiatives, local resource use and fair employment practices, among other things. Nonprofit organizations tap into traditional and digital media to connect to donors and volunteers and provide mission-critical outreach.

Even with all this change, strong basic communications skills reign. Effective communication practices are key to providing information to the public as well as understanding information provided and developing habits of good citizens.

 

 

 

 

Through course work and applied projects, Albright Communications students:

  • Communicate messages effectively
  • Develop an understanding of Communication and Media as a discipline
  • Understand and apply theory
  • Cultivate insights about media’s role in social issues
  • Become familiar with media as an industry
  • Gather and critically assess information form a variety of sources
  • Foster self-reflective, engaging and socially responsible communication behaviors

The Department of Communications offers conceptual and practical coursework and projects in a small, engaged community, developing effective, responsible, socially aware communicators.

We will guide you through courses and projects to develop a thoughtful and strategic approach to communications with an emphasis on hands-on applied projects to practice newly learned skills and gain insight on the impact of messaging.

Learn outside the classroom with The AlbrightianAlbright A.M.; Campus Radio News; or the College’s radio station, WXAC-FM.

The Communications major prepares you for careers in media and professional communications in a variety of corporate, government and non-profit settings, and for advanced study in the discipline.

Choose the Journalism track or Public Relations & Advertising Communications track, or opt for the Digital Communications Major.

Requirements for the Journalism Track

Core Courses:

COM 250 Media & Society
COM 260 Communication Theories (General Studies Foundations-Humanities)
COM 320 System of Free Expression
COM 321 Media History
COM 333 Practicum
COM 390 Multi-Platform Writing
COM 480 Senior Seminar in Communication Research

Journalism Track Courses:

COM 219 Magazine & Feature Writing
COM 222 Writing for Media
COM 315 Public Affairs Reporting
COM 316 Editing & Print Production
Three Electives, at least two of which must be from Communications, from: COM255, COM280, COM283, COM317, COM327, COM383, ART216, ART 265, DIG201, DIG301, DIG315, ENG235 (Literature of Journalism), HIS207, IDS208, IDS240, IDS252, PHI203, SOC331


Requirements for the Public Relations & Advertising Communications Track

Core Courses:

COM 250 Media & Society
COM 260 Communication Theories (General Studies Foundations-Humanities)
COM 320 System of Free Expression
COM 321 Media History
COM 333 Practicum
COM 390 Multi-Platform Writing
COM 480 Senior Seminar in Communication Research

Public Relations & Advertising Communication Track Courses:

COM 317 Campaign Planning
COM 327 Writing for Public Relations & Advertising
COM 337 Public Relations & Advertising Research
Four Electives, at least three of which must be from Communications, from: COM219, COM 222, COM255, COM280, COM283, COM316, COM383, ART216, ART265, DIG201, DIG301, DIG315, HIS207, PHI150, PHI203, SOC331


Requirements for the Communications Co-Majors

Core Courses:

COM 250 Media & Society
COM 260 Communication Theories (General Studies Foundations-Humanities)
COM 320 System of Free Expression or COM 321 Media History
COM 480 Senior Seminar in Communication Research

Track Courses

Journalism: COM 222, COM 315 and one of the following: COM 219, COM 316, COM 390

Public Relations & Advertising Communication: COM 317, COM 327, COM 337

One Communications Elective


COM 210 Uncovering Fashion What is fashion—and how does fashion “happen”? In this course, students will learn how fashion gets created; how Western fashion has been adopted historically across the globe; how and why elements of historical costumes from various countries become woven into designers’ runway creations; and how styles are expressed and adopted today, with special attention to the interdependencies between specific countries, particularly in relation to the role of media (fashion communication). General Studies Connections Global Humanities

COM 219 Magazine & Feature Writing Practice in planning, research, reporting, writing and marketing nonfiction articles to general and specialized magazines, newspapers and online publications.

COM 222 Writing for the Mass Media Introduction to the fundamentals of gathering and preparing information for print, online and broadcast news media: information gathering, story structure, news style, and writing compelling stories.

COM 250 Media and Society Examination of the historical, social, economic, cultural and political influences that have shaped present-day mass communication and the effects of media industries, contents and processes on contemporary society. Survey of mass communication theories and the interaction of media and society.

COM 255 Desktop Publishing An introduction to designing and creating publications using Adobe InDesign and related programs, as well as an introduction to the theory and practice of designing and producing a variety of publications (from advertisements and business cards to newsletters and magazines) from conception to final product.

COM 260 Communication Theories This course introduces students to communication as a discipline and provides opportunities to explore the intersection of semiotics and digital media.  Through an examination of the emergence of the discipline, students will learn the basic concepts, language and analytical tools and perspectives employed in the field of study. General Studies Foundations-Humanities

COM 280 Latin American Media Students explore the interplay between culture and media, becoming immersed in local Ecuadorian media and daily life, attending classes and completing an informal mini-ethnography of host family media use and analyzing media.   Readings, discussions, tours, and local excursions and lectures are led by local media professionals, academics and indigenous peoples. Students attend Spanish language classes geared toward their proficiency level, from 101 to advanced. Student projects focus on a particular site of the intersection of culture and media – such as images in advertising, religion & media, domestic cinema, media ownership, regional differences. This course requires an additional fee and international travel. General Studies Connections Global Humanities

COM 283 Special Topics in Communications Courses are offered on an occasional basis according to instructors’ and students’ needs. Recent topics have included fashion writing and health communication.

COM 315 Public Affairs Reporting Advanced reporting and writing techniques, with an emphasis on local, county, and state reporting on government, politics, courts and business. Practice in investigative reporting, information gathering skills, use of federal and state Freedom of Information Acts, and so forth. Rights and responsibilities of public communicators. Prerequisite: COM 222

COM 316 Editing and Print Production Editing, design and layout of print and online publication. Course introduces desktop publishing technologies, develops editorial plan and prototypes, and practices techniques of news evaluation, copy editing, headline writing, picture editing, illustration and editorial strategy. Prerequisite: COM 222

COM 317 Public Relations and Advertising Campaign Planning Introduction to the theory, principles and practices of advertising and public relations through the campaign planning process. Students explore market research, strategic planning, targeted message design, and media selection and scheduling. Study of the influences of advertising and public relations and the role and responsibilities of advertising and public relations practitioners.

COM 320 The System of Free Expression The system of free expression, legal doctrines of political and commercial speech, press freedom and censorship. Study of the legal rights and constraints of mass communications industries, including print, broadcast, cable and online media, advertising and public relations. Pre-requisite: COM250

COM 321 Media History A survey of the history of American mass media from a historical perspective, with an emphasis upon their social, political and economic environments. General Studies Connections-Humanities

COM 327 Public Relations Writing In this course, students will build public relations writing skills through hands-on practice crafting public relations pieces such as press releases, brochures, radio spots and newsletters. Students will also gain experience in basic print design and layout techniques. Through classroom instruction and lab experience, students will come to understand the basic writing and production skills needed to enter the public relations field. Prerequisite: COM 222 or COM317

COM 333 Practicum in Communication Supervised internships with newspapers, broadcasting stations, and advertising and public relations agencies. Prerequisite: COM 222 or 317

COM 337 Public Relations & Advertising Research This applied research course focuses on consumer and market research that are used in today’s public relations and advertising industries to plan and evaluate creative campaigns. Students will explore audience segmentation, media audience measurement and profiles, surveys, focus groups and concept testing. Prerequisite: COM 317

COM 383 Special Topics in Communications Courses are offered on a regular basis according to instructors’ and students’ needs. Recent topics have included gender and mass media, citizen journalism, and multimedia reporting.

COM 390 Multiplatform Writing In this advanced writing course students apply writing and design skills and concepts across a variety of media – including print, broadcast, and online venues – in journalism, public relations, and advertising contexts. Audience analysis and aesthetics are key component of this course, which incorporates service learning portfolio-building elements. Prerequisite: COM222 and one 300-level writing course

COM 480 Senior Seminar in Mass Communication Research Students are introduced to the role of theory in shaping research studies and interpreting their findings, and explore a variety of research methods commonly used in the field, including experimental, survey, content analysis, focus groups, case studies, and ethnography. Students develop a research question, conduct a literature review, and design an original research study. Prerequisite: Senior standing, COM 250, COM260

communications

Katherine J. Lehman, Ph.D.

Chair, Associate Professor of Communications

610-921-7291
klehman@albright.edu

communications

Jon Bekken, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Communication; Faculty Advisor, The Albrightian


jbekken@albright.edu

communications

Heidi Mau, M.F.A.

Assistant Professor of Communications

610-929-6712
hmau@albright.edu

Student-produced Media

The Albrightian is our student-produced newspaper and is staffed entirely by student writers, editors, photographers, photographers and designers who come together for the collaborative effort of informing the Albright community through traditional and social media. Funded by the Student Government Association.

In 2007 Albright A.M. was founded by Communications majors who needed a creative space, a focus on the arts, and new opportunities to develop magazine publishing skills. Entirely student-produced, Albright A.M. features concerts, fashion shows, musicians, theater, photography and more. Funded by the Student Government Association.

Albright College radio station, WXAC 91.3 FM, is a nonprofit, student-run organization that bases its philosophy on education, entertainment and diversity. From these basic concepts, WXAC helps train students in broadcasting operations and fosters communication and life skills. WXAC also presents an alternative to commercial radio by acting as a forum for music, poetry and the arts. The station disseminates information relevant to and important for the Albright community and beyond, and provides Reading’s Latino community with a non-biased, non-commercial Spanish-language platform.

All Communications student pitch and produce radio news segments for Campus Radio News, airing on WXAC weekly. This department-wide outreach and active learning initiative will focus you on the development of a variety of skills and talents while providing important programming for our College radio station.

What Can I do With a Major in
Communications