Reflection 8: Ethical Responsibility

Spring 2015 Radio Reel

For my final reflection, that of ethical responsibility, what comes to mind for me is not a traditional Knight School class or experience. Like students of other majors at Queens, communication students are also required to participate in internships for credit. I was blessed to have a life-changing internship for the Charlotte branch of the Ryan Seacrest Foundation (located within Levine Children’s Hospital) for four semesters. Each semester of work at the hospital brought forth new experiences and opportunities that were far beyond anything that I’ve ever learned in a traditional classroom setting.

The Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s mission is to place closed-circuit radio stations within top children’s hospitals across the nation. Through my internship at the Levine Children’s RSF, my main duties lied within working in radio. Each semester, I worked in a team with other interns from Queens and other nearby universities to create radio content and broadcast a bi-weekly show for the patients and their families. Some more specific intern duties included running on-air games and conducting interviews for up and coming guest visitors to the studio. Since I interned for four semesters, I became very familiar with running the radio board and live broadcasts. In my third semester at the internship, I was able to compile my first radio reel, which had video footage and audio of my best work from the previous months. Putting together my reel was great experience with working with top editing programs like Final Cut Pro and Audacity, and I had a finished product to be proud of.

Although my internship gave me much experience in my chosen field within communication, the reason that I value it so much is because of how it allowed me to grow on a personal level. I had the opportunity of meeting and spending time with precious hospital patients and their families, and learning their stories. I already saw myself as a compassionate person before beginning this internship, but after the amount of time that I’ve spent over the past two years in the high school environment, I know that my capacity for empathy has only grown, and that I’ve had firsthand experience in living out the Queens motto of “Not to be served, but to serve.” I now feel a strong desire to continue service work, especially if it could be related to my future career, in all of my endeavors to come. I have seen firsthand the power that making a difference with those less fortunate can have, both on others’ lives, and on my own.

Reflection 7: Global Awareness


My COM 410: Media Industry Workshop course was one of the smallest classes that I’ve ever taken at Queens: the class was a group of five of us, including the professor. The small size of this course ended up being very beneficial to the subject material. Each student in the course has passions that lie within a different facet of the communications industry, but together we all share common learning interests as well by being Knight School students. Our Professor, Mr. Page, worked hard to ensure that material studied during this class was very current, and was information that went beyond just being necessary for the classroom, but that would also be essential for a future work setting.

During the first half of the class, we studied numerous case studies and reports relating to data over all parts of the communication and media industry. Some case studies had a local focus, such as studying how the growth of online media affected a small-town newspaper in rural Eastern North Carolina. Other cases had a global focus, like exploring the immense popularity of messaging apps in other countries around the world. It was fascinating to study the changes in media on every level from local to global, and to see the similarities and differences. In addition to case studies and reports, our class also learned key analysis tactics such as SWOT and Five Forces, and how to apply them to studying the media.

Our final projects in class were an in-depth exploration and analysis of a local media outlet in Charlotte. I was assigned a local website that produces fashion related advertorial content, called Scoop Charlotte. Through my project, I made conclusions about how even though what Scoop does with their site appeals mostly just to local Charlotte residents, their marketing tactics are used by websites of similar content that get their messages out on a much more global scale.

Reflection 6: Communication Concentration

Blog Post #4

It is my hope that I will get to work in radio broadcasting after graduating from Queens. My passion for radio began at a young age, and I like many things about the industry, especially the pop culture aspect. It would make sense then that given my career aspirations and goals, one of my favorite classes that I’ve taken in the Knight school was COM 348: Communication and American Pop Culture, with Dr. Carreiro. This class explored how important themes such as the class system, cultural appropriation, and privilege play into today’s popular media.

Before COM 348, I was somewhat familiar with the terms that we would be studying in this class. I had some sort of a concept of what things such as racism, sexual objectification, and ethnicity were. But I didn’t know how all of these terms played into today’s popular culture. Through detailed examples of various forms of media, analyzations, class discussions both in class and on online forums, and group debate projects, Dr. Carreiro showed our class how to think critically about how the big players behind today’s media and popular culture try and present messages to the masses about these subjects that only show certain views on issues. A favorite assignment of mine in this class was our group debate projects, which happened twice during the semester. All of the students were placed into small groups of four, and each group was given a pop culture icon or popular movie or TV show to analyze and research. Group members would then deliberate on this subject out during a live timed debate in front of the class, and debate about how the themes and terms that we were studying in class related to the specific topic up for discussion. This was a great way for us to learn from our peers, and to see course material getting applied to specific pop culture scenarios.

Another assignment that I really enjoyed was our class’s global perspectives presentations. Each student interviewed someone who was not originally from the United States about what pop culture was like in their native country, and how it differed from the United States. The person that I interviewed was from France. We had a great interview, and it made for a really interesting project and presentation. It was also relevant to me because the summer following taking this course, I studied abroad in France for my JBIP program, so having a first-hand grasp on the popular culture of the country before leaving was useful to me.

Reflection 5: Research Literacy

BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR TERM PAPER (The file containing my actual research paper from this class has gone corrupt, so I am uploading the bibliography.)

I have already spoken about the positive impact that COM 219: Principles and History of Journalism, had on my academic career in the first reflection for this portfolio, which was on the topic of Theory and History of Communication. But I simply must speak about the impact of this class again, because it also challenged and taught me so much about the process of academic research.

In COM 219, we were always writing. There was a minimum of one short paper due every week, and many weeks of the course had two papers due. This does not include the final research paper of the semester, which was due in April. My paper ended up being seventeen pages long with citations. My research and citation skills improved drastically from the start of the class to its completion. My professor, Dr. El-Nawawy, was a stickler for APA style citations. Coming into the class, I thought that I knew a lot about citing and bibliographies. But under Dr. El-Nawawy’s guidance and teaching I quickly realized that I had much more to learn. By the time that I completed my final research paper in April, I felt fully confident in my knowledge of APA citations, and this is a skill that I have been able to carry over into future courses.

Proper research and sources were also an important part of COM 219. For all of the assignments in this class, only scholarly resources were counted as acceptable sources. By working on weekly assignments and my research paper, I was able to learn my way through the Queens library data bases, and become more skilled in determining which types of books could be considered scholarly sources as well.

Reflection 4: Digital and Media Literacy

Digital Charlotte Tutorial

This might seem like an obvious choice, but the Knight School class that best helped with my Digital and Media Literacy was COM 370, Advanced Digital Media Production. This was one of the first classes that I took after I switched from being a Communication major to a Journalism and Digital Media major, and it helped solidify for me that I made the right decision in switching my academic track! I took the equivalent of the prerequisite for this class, Digital Media Production, at my former university. At Gardner-Webb, the course was called Digital Media Convergences, but it followed similar material to the Digital Media Production class at Queens, and I felt well prepared to jump right into COM 370!

In COM 370, we learned about various forms of digital media and technology, and had the opportunity to practice our skills through different assignments. The majority of projects in the class were video and photography assignments, and it was in this class that I first began to feel comfortable with Final Cut Pro, a popular and useful video editing software. The photography unit in the class also helped me greatly, as this was the point in my blogging career when I was starting to take blogging more seriously, and the photography lessons in this class were things that I was able to carry-over with working on my blog’s content!

A notable project that sticks out for me in COM 370 is when my class worked on making videos for the Digital Charlotte initiative. I learned through my class that Digital Charlotte is a collaborative project (sponsored by the Knight Foundation and Knight School of Communication) that seeks to provide digital literacy to all Charlotteans. My classmates and I worked on video projects for Digital Charlotte as one of our larger assignments of the semester. Each video talked about a different digital literacy topic, and served as a tutorial for Charlotteans who might need help with an aspect of social media or technology. My video project was a tutorial on uploading photos to e-mail and Facebook. This project allowed me to practice many skills that I learned in class, such as using Final Cut Pro and doing voice-over work in a video project. And knowing that my project was able to help Digital Charlotte and their wonderful initiative was the best feeling of all!


Reflection 3: Written Communication Proficiency

Final Draft- Taylor Penzer

When I think about how my written communication proficiency has improved since I began my time as a student in the Knight School, I have one class to especially credit for this, which would be COM 204: News Writing and Reporting. My class was taught by Professor Mary Tabor, a former reporter for the New York Times. The Times is an iconic American news publication, and with Ms. Tabor’s experience of working in the industry, I can’t think of anyone who would have been more qualified to teach our class.

Ms. Tabor did not simply teach a class about print journalism; from day one of the semester, she treated each student as a journalist and ran the course like a news room editorial meeting. My classmates and I bounced ideas for stories off of each other in brainstorming sessions, and many times throughout the semester participated in peer editing workshops for our written work. And of course the act of writing was something that we did frequently, whether in class or as assignments! Our textbook covered various types of new stories: everything from hard news to obituaries to press releases. Ms. Tabor gave us plenty of opportunities to practice all of the different news writing styles through timed in class exercises, and we also had the opportunity throughout the semester to be published in the Queens Chronicle with our larger homework story assignments!

The written piece of which I’m proudest of from the semester was a collaborative effort that I helped contribute to for the Chronicle with my classmates. In the first class period that we had after the tragic Paris bombings, Ms. Tabor had a special assignment for our class. She gave each student a reporting duty, and sent each of us out over campus to gather information for a collaborative story. I was sent to interview Professor Lien, Queen’s head French professor, to hear his opinions on the tragedy. We all reported back to class that day with our findings and interviews, and by the end of the period, we had produced a collaborative article for the Chronicle with all of our findings. It was published later that week, and I was amazed at how each person’s contributions all helped to form a wonderful article on such difficult subject matter. It was then that I realized how many important writing skills I had been learning in COM 204!

Reflection 2: Oral Communication Proficiency

Informative Speech – Greek Rush

When considering the objective of Oral Communication Proficiency, I reflect on one of my favorite Knight School courses, COM 200: Public Speaking. There is a whole story as to how I ended up in this class in the first place. I am a Journalism and Digital Media major, and COM 200 is a required class for the regular Communication major, not actually for my major! However, during my first semester at Queens, I had some bad advising before I was placed with my permanent advisor within my major. My first advisor mistakenly placed me in all regular Communication major classes. While these courses didn’t end up counting towards my degree requirements (and almost made me have to take an extra semester to graduate!), everything ended up working out in the end, and one pro to my first semester at Queens was that I ended up loving my COM 200 class. I did have a feeling ahead of time that I would enjoy the class, as public speaking has always been a love of mine. A fun fact: for my high school graduation party in 2012, I wrote and delivered a 12-page speech to address all 80+ of my friends and family members who attended my graduation party.

My professor, Mr. Shoff, made everyone in the class feel comfortable, and his teaching style was warm and inviting. Throughout the semester we explored different types of speeches: persuasive speeches and informational speeches, and we also spent time analyzing what makes a speaker or speech great. One of the things that I enjoyed about this course was that we were allowed to write our speeches on any topics of our choosing, as long as the topic could fit with the assignment guidelines. Being able to write speeches about topics like sorority recruitment or tourism in Las Vegas, topics that interested me, made me passionate about the research (and verbal practicing!) that I needed to do for the course.

I already enjoyed public speaking before taking this class, but I realized after taking this course that I enjoyed it in an academic setting as well. It was really interesting to watch the oral communication proficiency of my classmates improve throughout the semester, and to see everyone’s enthusiasm for their speeches to increase with each assignment.

Reflection 1: Theory & History of Communication

Mass Comm Final Paper   Focus Group Paper #5

The Knight School of Communication has most certainly done an excellent job in educating me in the theory and history of communication. My Knight School professors (and the coursework itself) has stressed the importance of knowing the fundamentals behind all aspects of communication. By learning theory and history, you are prepared to delve into studying knowledge of where communication and media are headed both today and also in the future.

Two notable courses that stuck out in my memory when reflecting on this learning objective are COM 218: Mass Communication Theory, and COM 219: History of Journalism. Mass Communication Theory was a very text and information heavy class, but the theories that we learned in class served as the backbone to information that I learned in future communication classes. I also found interestingly enough that many of the mass communication theories were similar to theories that I studied in my sociology courses at Queens (I am a sociology minor).

COM 219: History of Journalism, was one of the most useful classes that I have ever taken. While incredibly demanding in terms of the workload, this class educated students in all of the major journalistic historical moments from the beginnings of the United States of America through the present, and helped students to make connections about how the history of journalism plays into the future of the field. Notable topics that we studied in COM 219 included everything from Yellow Journalism to American broadcast news coverage during the Vietnam War, to the ethical concerns of plagiarism in journalism and how news and journalism played into the Civil Rights Movement. For my term paper, I developed my own research topic surrounding journalistic ideas that we had studied. My research was a detailed comparison and analysis of the way that American print media treated coverage of the Great Depression versus the Recession of 2008.

By taking time to study both the theories and history of communication, my chosen field of study, it prepared me well for future classes to come, and helped me to understand that in whatever I undertake in the future background knowledge is always essential. The workload and subject matter of both of these courses challenged me, but with hard work and a diligent attitude I was able to succeed in both.