Putting skills to work outside the box a good thing for Cedarville students

We have this saying in the Cedarville University Department of Communication: “What Can’t We Do?”

We put it on T-shirts, hashtag it, say it, etc.

The more students apply that to co- and extra-curricular activities while on campus, the better it prepares them to find work.

In addition to my journalism teaching responsibilities in the department, I also teach a writing class to communication majors. My sense is that what we discuss and learn in that class helps them think about writing in new ways. They are, after all, comm majors and want to know the best ways to communicate in whatever job they find.

There are obvious limits on what they can do. They can’t use their degree to be a nurse, an engineer, a school teacher or an astronaut. But they can work at hospitals, innovative companies, schools and even for NASA. All those places, and just about any other place open for business, needs people to do the work comm majors do. “Where Can’t We Work?” is another way to think about it.

I could say just about the same thing for journalism majors. We train them to be reporters and to do other aspects of journalism. But they are employable beyond those areas at businesses and non-profits. Same goes for broadcasting and digital media students. We just did a survey of recent journalism graduates, and most are working either as reporters, content marketers or public relations specialists.

Similarly, students choose to work for Cedars, our campus newspaper and website, and Resound, our campus raido station, from outside of the comm department. We are inclusive, not exclusive, in both directions.

I just saw this article about a graduate from a program outside of our department. He got a good job at a web design firm and was once a part of our design team for Cedars. Andrew Spencer did some great work for us and helped us win a design award in the annual Ohio Newspaper Association contest. He looked for ways to grow his skills outside of the classroom.

Students are wise for taking advantage of opportunities outside of their specific discipline. It grows their knowledge and understanding of the world.

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Cedars staff brings home eight SPJ awards

Awards season was good to the Cedars staff again this year. We just returned from the Society of Professional Journalists regional conference with eight Mark of Excellence awards. That’s three better than last year. Four of the awards were category winners and will be entered in the national contest.

This followed a third straight honor as the top non-daily student paper in Ohio in the Ohio Newspaper Association collegiate contest.

Journalists have never been in it for the money, and they aren’t just in it for awards either. But awards are still fun to win. It’s validation that you are doing good work, even some of the best work among your peers. The students of recent years are certainly helping to build a good reputation for the program and for Christian journalists.

They have been a blessing to work with. And it’s a blessing to see them take what they learn and apply it with a mindset of wanting to do the best job possible. Our program still has plenty of room to grow and much opportunity, but a strong foundation has been set in the past few years.

The goal of our faculty is to blend practical experience and skills development with what every journalist needs to know about the law, ethics and the ever-evolving business of journalism. And, most importantly, to apply a Christian worldview to every part of journalism.

If you know any Cedars staffers, please congratulate them on a job well done.

Cedarville student journalists keep winning awards

Seeing students succeed while you have them and after they leave is one of things that makes your day.

Yesterday, lots of Cedarville University students were honored for their work on Cedars at the Ohio Newspaper Association Annual Convention in Columbus. For the second straight year, they brought home the gold … or the plaque. Their entries in various categories of reporting, design and photography won 10 awards. The points added up to the General Excellence Award in the non-daily division as the best paper in the state. They competed against eight other schools.

Four of them, Zack Anderson, Lauren Eissler, Mary Miller and Becca Kochsmeier got to spend the day in Columbus. We heard Gov. Kasich speak about challenges facing Ohio. We also heard from Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute and co-author of the “Elements of Journalism,” a text we use in our advanced reporting class. I plan to share some of the things he said soon on this blog about the strong future of journalism.

Serving as their adviser is a privilege. They work hard at doing the best work possible with integrity and fairness. And they do it not just for themselves or their school, but for their Lord. I see a work ethic that reflects a desire to do all they do for the glory of God.

I hope everyone at our school is as thankful for them and as proud of them as I am.