Teaching Communication in the 21st Century

A group of scholars observe a tour guide pointing out architectural details in an ornate Art Deco-era building

Teaching communication in the 21st century requires changing our minds, our budgets and of course our universities. Students aspire to be successful in the labor market for the next 40 years with new knowledge and skills.

A step in that direction was taken by Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication through its new study program in Los Angeles, California, the U.S. heart of global entertainment.

This new master’s program in narrative and emerging media is a joint endeavor between the Cronkite School and the Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts. Also, this newly renovated building hosts an undergraduate program from the Sidney Poitier New American Film School.

Thus students and professors from different areas of knowledge share experiences and exchange ideas in open and shared workspaces. Arizona students can travel to California to learn new knowledge and of course, experience different skills not only for the professional future but for their personal lives.

The idea is to take the best of the traditional teaching of journalism and public relations under a new logic in line with digital platforms and the profitability of content distribution.

During our visit, the 18 participants of the 2023 “Journalism, Technology and Democracy” program learned from Professor of Practice Rachel Kane and student Mirah Borden about this new experience. We visited the newsroom, the recording studio and also the editing room.

The scholars look on as Rachel Kane explains some internal processes at the Content Studio
Content Studio director Rachel Kane introduces the scholars to the Cronkite School’s newest professional program

Rachel and Mirah, one of the 9 summer term students, told us how they produce content, incorporate data, and verify sources in order to engage new audiences with quality stories.

 Students start from scratch with their projects on social networks and measure the growth of their audiences. They also reach out to real-world clients to learn firsthand about organizations that need journalists.

Since everything is not money in this world, at least during this summer, the University is assisting with the communication management of an NGO that takes care of the environment. This organization, in turn, opened its doors for students to produce and distribute content. This solidarity logic of mutually benefiting in two directions must also remain close to the teaching of communication during the 21st century.