Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
You are the voice. We are the echo.
The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo
image004.jpg

Multimedia journalism program numbers increase annually

Faculty value the Christian outlook

Multimedia journalism is one of the fastest-growing majors at Taylor University, revealed in a staff meeting late last semester. Of the growing majors, multimedia journalism ranked five out of the seven majors showing the most growth across campus.

Alan Blanchard, associate professor of journalism who serves as executive director of the Pulliam Journalism Center, said the increased rate of growth in the multimedia journalism majors for 2023-24 is on track to continue next school year.

Blanchard pointed to the financial support for students as a strong reason for the program’s growth in the past. 

“God has blessed us with growth in numbers of Multimedia Journalism majors and minors,” Blanchard said. “We are grateful at Taylor University for Russ Pulliam’s decision to generously increase his annual journalism scholarship funding from $60,000 to $120,000.

“This has helped our TU Enrollment team to attract and retain more students,” Blanchard said. “Specifically, students who are called to develop and employ their nonfiction reporting/writing skills in traditional journalism media and/or in Christian/nonprofit arenas — all as a way to honor, love and serve God and their neighbor.”

Pulliam is an associate editor for the Indianapolis Star newspaper and a mentor to young journalists. He routinely speaks to journalism classes at Taylor as an adjunct professor and shares his knowledge of the journalism industry with the next generation.

Pulliam’s donations to multimedia journalism scholarships are a contribution to the success of the program. He also points to instructors like Blanchard. 

“Alan Blanchard's deep background in newspapers and news coverage is a primary factor,” Pulliam said. “He brings many years of experience in providing news to readers and that opens a door for students to learn from someone with much practical experience.” 

Along with Blanchard’s approach to multimedia journalism, Pulliam points to the alternative approach that Taylor’s curriculum takes with the major. Although many Christian universities usually do not offer a strong multimedia journalism program, Pulliam has found that people have a greater desire for news now more than ever.

Similar to other areas of communication, being able to read and write well can give students an advantage over other applicants when applying for jobs, Pulliam said. 

“Anyone who writes for The Echo or any student newspaper will have an advantage when it comes to writing well,” Pulliam said. “Writing stories about subjects you don't know much about is a great training ground for all kinds of workplace skills.”

Students like sophomore Caleb Heffron and senior Samantha Saad have been prepared for success by being a part of the multimedia journalism program.

Heffron and Saad are on the editorial board for The Echo and are multimedia journalism majors. Both agree that they have benefited from their work as journalists, not only in the field of writing.

“The journalism major is figuring out how to have a balanced life schedule for you between life and work and general self needs like eating and also being able to balance out having open spots for other people,” Heffron said. “I think that is the most difficult thing to juggle.”

Both Heffron and Saad noted that their work as journalists inside and outside of the classroom has helped them build interpersonal skills.

They agree the classes have challenged them, and their overall experiences have been positive.The skills they have learned in journalism classes apply to anything and everything, Saad said.

“Writing for The Echo is really fun,” Saad said. “I get to bond with people and have a different community outside of my residence hall, I’ve made some of my closest friends here.”

Jeff Groeling serves as the Communication Department chair. He pointed to a few of the key factors for the multimedia journalism program’s growth in past years. The most prominent reasons were the Christian worldview incorporated into the teaching, journalism ethics, and scholarships. 

Groeling believes that Christian journalists are held to a higher standard because of the faith they have– a standard that should be held for more journalists. 

“From an ethical perspective, because we have Jesus as the lens through which we live and have our being, you are held to a higher standard as Christian journalists than other journalists in the industry,” Groeling said.

Groeling believes the standard that Christian professionals are held to does not just apply to journalism. He also believes that the compassionate and experienced professors are part of what makes Taylor University unique among its peer Christian Universities. 

Provost Jewerl Maxwell points to the national trends to reinforce the success of these programs at Taylor. 

“We are seeing a lot of the same growth at Taylor,” Maxwell said. “It seems that prospective students looking at Taylor value the Christ-centered liberal arts education that we provide to all students.”