By Jennifer Rodino
Now that the new year is here, The Beacon has a new direction: outward.
“In order to move the program towards excellence, we must get our reporters out in the community as a first step,” said Dr. Duane Meeks, dean of The School of Communication and Media. Meeks also serves as the newspaper’s publisher.
Starting this semester, The Beacon will cover more stories on current events and people throughout the West Palm Beach area. Our reporters will have more of an opportunity to get out into the community and report back to Palm Beach Atlantic University about important news.
Meeks feels that by sending reporters to cover stories outside of PBA, this will give student journalists real world experience. In addition, this will help the journalism program become one of the best.
“Our ultimate goal is to develop a premiere journalism program in Christian education,” Meeks said.
Not only is Meeks striving for local community stories to appear in The Beacon, but he also has high hopes to expand the readership beyond the PBA student body. If The Beacon picks up community readers, then this would be another excellent way to get the PBA name out into the community and inform the public what is going on around campus.
“Our PBA sports teams are under-reported in the local media,” said Meeks. “ I want the community to be aware of our superb sports programs on campus.”
In addition to a new “outward” focus, PBA journalism students will push to keep up with the changes in technology and consumer habits that are bringing upheaval to the news industry. With the increased use of Web-based formats and decline in print media, Meeks feels that journalism students must be well- rounded. Exploring ways to publish news on the Web is another way to gain more readers and improve the journalism program.
“We can’t train students for yesterday’s job,” said Meeks. “We have to train them for where the industry is going.”
The Beacon Blog, beaconblog.wordpress.com, provides journalism students a forum for daily updates and also multimedia. Today’s print version of The Beacon includes two stories that refer readers to accompanying multimedia on the blog.
The print version sports design changes, including the front page “flag,” the newspaper’s nameplate. Beacon Copy Editor Kristina Webb designed the new flag working in a graphics class under David Pounds, associate professor of graphic arts.