Graphic Design
Journalism & Mass Communications
Michael Crowley
Shannon Beller
Kristen Perez
Bruce Miller
Cliff News
BCU Radio
Cliff Works
Student Handbook
Mass Comm Forms
Writing Center


The mission of the Department of Mass Media is to prepare competent, well-trained, and liberally educated men and women in the converging field of mass media. Students will gain knowledge through theory, practical and applied learning which will provide the valuable education and experience needed for a career in this challenging field.

Program Description
The mass communication curriculum is designed to whet your appetite by enabling you to enroll as a freshman in a series of beginning-level courses: Introduction to Mass Media, Visual Communication and the BCU-Radio practicum. We then begin to shape your writing skills. As a sophomore, you will enter our newswriting sequence (print and broadcast). At the beginning of your junior year, now that you have mastered the art of writing, you enter the advanced level coursework in media ethics and law, computer graphic design and video production.  By the end of your junior year, as a pre-professional, you are ready for courses that are more advanced and internships. By the time you graduate, you will have the beginnings of an impressive resume, a media portfolio and practical experience in the field. Upon graduation, you will have the basic tools, talent and experience necessary to be highly competitive for the many entry-level media slots.

Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication (59 credits)

MCOM 101    Introduction to Mass Media (3)     
MCOM 200    Beginning Newswriting (3)
MCOM 216    Basic Photography (3)
MCOM 220    Visual Communication (3)     
MCOM 225    Graphic Communication (3)
MCOM 225L Graphic Communication Lab (1)
MCOM 230 Global Media Studies (3)
MCOM 300    Ethical and Legal issues in Mass Media (3)   
MCOM 307    Public Relations (3)
MCOM 310 Photojournalism (3)
MCOM 331    Reporting for the Electronic Media (3)          
MCOM 312    Advanced Newswriting and Copy Editing (3)
MCOM 332    Video Production I (3)       
MCOM 315    Video Production II (3)
MCOM 325    Web site Production (3)
MCOM 407 Social Media (3)          
MCOM 440    Research in Mass Media (3)  
MCOM 490    Internships/Work Experiences (3)

Total 53 credits

MCOM 031 Cliff News Practicum (1)
MCOM 032 Cliff News Practicum (1)
MCOM 051 BCU Radio Practicum (1)
MCOM 053 BCU Radio Practicum (1)
MCOM 061 BCU TV Practicum (1)
MCOM 062 BCU TV Practicum (1)

Total 59 credits

Minor Requirement: 18 hours approved by the department chairperson of which 6 hours must be from the 300-level courses.

Internships and Career Placement

You also will gain necessary practical experience by working with professionals in the field. Each student completes two internships.

A career in mass communications can take you just about anywhere. Successful department of mass communications alumni include: Mike Wankum, Emmy award-winning weatherman, WLVI-TV, Boston, Mass.; Ron Demers, weather director, KTIV-TV, Sioux City, Iowa; Matt Shill, publications coordinator, Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.; Katie Seuntjens, graphic designer, Long Lines, Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; Richard Lichlyter-Klein, web programmer, The News-Gazette, Champaign, Ill; Kristen Hansen, news producer, “Live at Daybreak” WOWT-TV, Omaha, Neb.; and Matt Steichen, sports editor, Austin Daily Herald, Austin, Minn.


Integrated Multimedia Center

The Integrated Multimedia Center (IMC) is the central hub for all mass communication.  It is connected to the BCU radio studio and the BCU Radio/Cliff News staff office. The IMC is a fully digital production area.  The facility has film, slide transparency and photo scanning capability; digital non-linear video and audio editing; CD-Rom production; web page design; and is digital versatile disc (DVD) capable. Video production is accomplished on Final Cut Pro software.  The student newspaper, the Cliff News @ Briar Cliff University, is produced and placed on the Internet via the World Wide Web on a weekly basis. Photographs are captured on 7 Nikon D70 digital cameras and edited in Adobe Photoshop. The facility serves as a digital darkroom where students can print to one of three Epson 4000 color inkjet printers up to 17’ wide on roll paper.

 The lab includes a color laser printer for documents up to 11” x 17” which is useful for graphic design courses and majors. Dual flat-screen computers in the "quad" allow students to work in close communication with each other.  The workstations are networked together via the computer network (LAN), thus allowing file-sharing and transferring of media from one station to the next.  All 16 computers (both PC and Macs) have CD-ROM burners and are DVD capable.  The lab is accessible 24 hours a day by authorized students (students majoring in graphic design, mass communications and new media or students enrolled in courses that require the use of the lab). 

BCU Radio
The Department of Mass Media maintains a campus-based radio station which reaches a potential audience of 100,000 listeners/viewers in Iowa and South Dakota. A color video camera places a live, in-studio image over a cable channel which reaches audiences in Sioux City and Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; and North Sioux City and McCook Lake, South Dakota. The format of the station is "alternative"... programming the genres of rock, punk, reggae, folk, world, new age, rap, hip-hop, dance, and other styles. BCU Radio is equipped with Simian, a digital audio automation system.  BCU Radio can be seen on Cable One Channel 12. 

BCU TV (Cable One Channel 12)
The Department of Mass Media maintains a three-camera television studio for the production of a variety of student-centered productions, as well as off-campus public service and contracted productions. Students in the Television Production course produce a half-hour newscast which contains on-campus and off-campus news and sports video packages. The newscast is produced "live-on-tape" for cable casting over the educational access cable channel into two states.

BCU Radio/Cliff News Office
Connected to the Integrated Multimedia Center is the BCU Radio/Cliff News staff office. This space is for staff members of the campus radio and newspaper, complete with networked computers.

Faculty Highlights
Faculty members in the Department of Mass Communications are committed to remaining on the cutting edge of instruction and technology. The faculty in the department are aware of the skills, which those in the businesses of radio, television, print, public relations, photography, advertising, graphic design and new media demand of incoming professionals in a converging industry. The faculty not only teach, they also work in their fields of expertise.

Department Chairperson
Michael Crowley, chair and associate professor of mass communications. He holds an M.A. from Ball State University; a B.A. from California State University, Sacramento; and a Certificate of Multimedia from Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a member of the Society for Professional Journalists, the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and National Press Photographers Association. He has been at Briar Cliff University since 1989.

For more information, please contact Michael Crowley, associate professor and chair of the Department of Mass Media, 712.279.5459, Michael.Crowley@briarcliff.edu.

Student Learning Outcomes
Students who complete the mass communication major at Briar Cliff University will obtain:

Knowledge: Information and Theoretical Concepts:
Interpret the role of the media and how it has affected society from a historical perspective.

Demonstrate an understanding of the profession within the context of convergence.

Have knowledge of theories and concepts prevalent in the field.

Ethical, Legal, and Social Responsibility
Be familiar with important legal issues that face the field of mass communication.

Develop personal values based upon ethical standards.
Recognize ethical dilemmas that face mass media professionals.
Recognize the power of the media and its effects on society.

Writing for the Communication Field
Demonstrate proficiency in the various writing styles appropriate for the communication professions.

Demonstrate the ability to write and edit articles for publication.
Critically evaluate written and oral presentations for style and content.

Visual Communication
Interpret, create, and disseminate visual information.

Electronic Applications
[Obtain and] demonstrate the skill necessary to use technologies appropriate to the field.
Plan, create, and complete projects using electronic media.

Applied Learning
Apply the knowledge and skills appropriate in the communication field.
Demonstrate skills needed for an entry-level position in the profession.

Research in Mass Communication
Understand, analyze, and evaluate research.
Demonstrate an understanding of research methods.

See The Department of Mass Media Handbook for more information about the mass communication major and The Department of Mass Media.