COM 597: Community and Media: Storytelling and Audience Engagement

Course Description:

This class is about putting smart, strategic and soulful storytelling to work to rise above the roar of everyday digital media. As professionals honing messages, sharing stories and conducting outreach to 21st century audiences, the ability to craft meaningful narratives that engage audiences and create real connections is more important than ever.  A deep understanding of the transformative power of engagement and connection throughout recent history is critical to mastering the skills necessary to become communications leaders in digital media. “Community and Media: Storytelling and Audience Engagement” is a hands-on, practical course designed to teach students storytelling skills, along with a fundamental strategic underpinning, to help create deep connections between storytellers and audiences.  Along the way, we’ll examine the history and context of 20th century media storytelling, and mine award-winning radio and TV programs for timeless audience engagement techniques and methods that worked in previous eras, but that are still relevant and effective in the digital era. We’ll also learn practical strategies from contemporary media professionals who are constantly navigating profound changes to the technology, economics, architecture and even the social consciousness of the modern media landscape. Through case studies and hands-on exercises with communications professionals, we’ll learn how to create engaging interactions with audiences, and powerful connections with each other and our communities.

Student Testimonial:

“The class was driven by conversational discussion of contemporary news as relative to media history, and as intersections with the readings assigned. Lengthy interviews with local-legend media producers brought venerable views and opinions of contemporary community media outlets–their struggles and successes. The final projects were explorations and research of media effects, students had wide leeway in choosing their content and presentation style.”