September 2010 e-news index
In the past two decades we have encountered a communication revolution that is every bit as profound as—perhaps even more than—the introduction of television to the mass American public in the 1950s. Nothing about communication is static these days. This dynamic environment requires some new ways of preparing our students to become engaged citizens and successful professionals. To that end, the Department's central initiative this year will be to design a new framework for student professional development, beginning when students enter the major and building over time with increasingly sophisticated professional experiences. Read more from David Domke.
Young people are born into a media-saturated world that is innovating at light speed, yet they are rarely given the conceptual and hands-on tools to understand and navigate today’s new media landscape. A new program, the Seattle Digital Literacy Initiative, will send journalists, media policy experts, and media makers into schools and youth programs for interactive presentations exploring online privacy, the role of journalism in our democracy, how to find quality information online, and international media coverage. Read more.
Several years ago, after taking a Communication course on content analysis, Jennifer Stuber and a classmate analyzed mental health coverage by eight Washington dailies. They found that more than half of the stories about mental illness mentioned crime or violence while few reported on treatment, prevention, or recovery. Stuber, now an assistant professor of social work, has since founded the Washington State Coalition to Improve Mental Health Reporting and is working with Communication faculty and staff to promote change nationwide. Read more.
Leah Erickson '70 (formerly Maureen Bereskin) studied non-verbal communication cues while in grad school at the UW. She worries about a future of impersonal communication in the growing digital world. “Part of understanding people is seeing how they express themselves physically while trying to communicate,” says Erickson, now a Temple University professor and real-estate consultant, who believes that our abilities to communicate and understand one another will suffer greatly with the growing use of texting and tweeting as modes of communication. Read more.