June 27, 2011

Television Studies minor now available

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students who are interested in learning more about the impact that media has on their lives can now earn a minor in Television Studies through Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Department of Radio-Television.

With the endless possibilities of available media outlets, it is essential to understand the ever-changing media landscape and culture. The minor will allow students, including those who do not plan to work in the industry or become media professionals, the opportunity to gain a “critical ability to understand how media is involved in their lives,” said Dafna Lemish, department chair.

“So much of the information we receive comes from the media and so much of what we know about the world is from the media,” she said. “In any profession a person goes into today they are probably going to have to be relying on the media or using media.”

The explosion of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and the increasing number of media platforms also makes it important that people realize the opportunities available, Lemish said. Television today is available through a variety of screens, including computers, and not just the old console television sets that many grew up watching.

“There is no profession today that somehow does not incorporate media in their promotions, analysis, and in getting their message out to the world,” she said. “There is nothing today that does not involve the media.”

The 15-hour minor includes one mandatory course, “Understanding Media,” which will provide a basic overview of electronic media, history, current issues and future trends, according to program material. The course will also look at media ethics and social ethics.

While students will not be specializing in production aspects of television, they do have the possibility of choosing a production course within the minor. Available courses within the minor include media production, news writing and digital graphics, and courses that deal with television studies, media programming, media industries and media promotion.

Another hope is that some students enrolled in the minor will turn that interest into a major, Lemish said.

The minor is an exciting addition to the college’s curriculum, Dean Gary P. Kolb said.

“Television, rapidly evolving, is still a dominant cultural force in our society,” he said. “In these days of 500 channels and endless on-demand options, television is a more vigorous and important medium of communication than ever before.

“We believe this new minor will be of interest to students in our college and around campus who want to understand and deconstruct this phenomenon to become educated and critical consumers of this medium,” he said. “We have on our faculty several world-class scholars who are experts in various facets of this area of study from production to financing to distribution to cultural impacts and they can provide a rich content for this new program.”

For more information on the Television Studies minor, contact Jean Kelley, academic adviser in the Department of Radio-Television, at 618/453-6902, or by email at jeank@siu.edu.