CLEMSON — Alumni of Clemson’s communication department have gone on to various roles in public relations, journalism, marketing, entertainment and a host of related fields. The first experience for many of them came through roles in Clemson’s student-run media organizations, whether it was hosting a radio show on WSBF-FM or reporting news through The Tiger.
Effective July 1, Clemson’s student media units will transition from the Division of Student Affairs to the university’s communication department. The move will add academic capacity and establish a closer relationship between these units and relevant curriculum.
These organizations include Tigervision, Clemson’s television network; The Tiger, the university’s student-run newspaper; the Pendulum, an international affairs magazine; the Tiger Town Observer, a political news journal; The Chronicle, Clemson’s student art and literary magazine; and WSBF-FM, the university’s long-running, FCC-licensed radio station.
All organizations will remain in the Hendrix Student Center, according to Joseph Mazer, chair of the communication department. Mazer said students can expect greater alignment between these media organizations and the academic curriculum that will serve as their backbones.
“Our department has the faculty expertise needed to allow students to participate fully in these organizations,” Mazer said. “The organizations provide a glimpse for students into what a career in media will be like, so it’s appropriate that these organizations be housed alongside relevant curricula and faculty experts.”
This move will also bring the department of communication more in line with the composition of similar departments at top-20 research institutions. According to Mazer, student media organizations are an integral part of the most successful departments, schools and colleges of communication across the U.S., where they are attached and are advised by department faculty.
The department launched a national search for a faculty lecturer who will provide oversight and direction for student media operations. Mazer said informal advisement is already under way.
“This is a very exciting time for the department because it will see us create a converged media environment where students work across the various organizations, which supports best practices in the communication discipline,” Mazer said. “Making it possible for students to work in and out of all media organizations — to see how they connect — is reflective of how the media industry works today.”
Mazer expects a smooth transition without any organization missing a beat. The department will refresh the 5,000-square-foot space in Hendrix where the media organizations reside, but the equipment required for their operations will remain in place. There will be no dead air on WSBF or a missed installment of The Tiger due to the move.
He said the physical space will work as a big selling point for students interested in the communication program and related majors.
“Instead of just talking about how students will learn to work in a modern media world, faculty can show prospective students and their parents where all of this learning will take place,” Mazer said.
The communication department is housed in the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences where Leslie Hossfeld serves as dean. Hossfeld said she is excited to firmly attach a university function such as student media to the college.
“These organizations don’t just mean a great deal to current students; they are treasured by generations of alumni who still support and enjoy their content,” Hossfeld said. “Our college will now enjoy a direct connection to these organizations that have meant so much to Clemson students and alumni over the years.”
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