i-Comm Student Media
Quite a few people that I talk to raise an eyebrow when I say that I work for i‑Comm Student Media. As it is a brand-new organization and still in a soft launch there is very little information about it available. Following is my attempt to inform the world of i‑Comm.
Where it came from, where it’s going
The BYU-I campus newspaper was first published in 1905 and later became Scroll. Through the years Scroll forged ahead in the (collegiate) print news industry. Recent awards received include the 2003-2004 National Newspaper Pacemaker Award and First Place Editorial Column Collection in the Society of Professional Journalists.
Lee Warnick, the adviser over this traditional campus newspaper, is a professor at Brigham Young University - Idaho (BYU-I) and comes from a traditional print news background. He received a bachelor’s degree in Print Journalism from Brigham Young University (BYU), a master’s degree in Media Management from Utah State University (USU), and Ph. D. from the University of Nebraska in Educational Administration, emphasizing in distance and online education. Before joining Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) in 1988, his professional career included working as a sports editor for the Deseret News and as the Assistant Editor for LDS Church News.
By 2005, Scroll and most other university newspapers still were not under the pressure that the average professional newspaper was — readership was solid, and they were making good money. However, in June of that year, Lee attended The Newspaper Association of America Conference on Marketing and the Future of Newspapers, in Chicago. Lee had attended similar conferences many times, but he said that this was the first time that presenters and leaders sounded fearful, even panicked about the future of the industry. In previous years they had talked as though the newspaper industry was largely immune to the technological and social changes taking place. Now they seemed to suddenly recognize that the print news industry was in serious trouble unless they adapted quickly.
At one point in the conference Lee realized that he was one of only three educators attending. He realized that the journalists of tomorrow would be sent into the industry with the training of yesterday unless he did something about it. But was the training of yesterday — his training — a bad thing? No, it was not. At least not any more than a square peg, and square pegs are great when you have square hole. But if the news industry of tomorrow is a round hole, the peg had better be reshaped. Lee determined to prepare his Communication students to work and excel in the digital world.
Lee proceeded to lead two years of work, proposals, meetings, and late nights. i‑Comm Student Media was finally born in September of 2007. This new entity at BYU-Idaho is an experiment in media convergence. The once-fragmented student media organizations are now all under one (metaphorical) roof, collaborating and sharing resources. Organizations involved include the newspaper, broadcasting group, yearbook, advertising and public relations agencies. A marketing group and a design agency were launched to serve the needs of i-Comm as a whole and each group individually.
Note, however, that this new converged-media organization is missing one obvious and essential part: the Web site. That has been an unfortunately difficult sell. The university administration, IT and public relations all have questions that need to be answered. As BYU-Idaho is a private university, it has a greater need and ability to control its brand and any media that is distributed over a wide area. Assurances, checkpoints, and plans must be made before they will let us host a site externally and gather / publish user-generated content online. Fortunately, that process is almost complete, and work on the site is beginning. The site will be the hub of i‑Comm that all of its organizations will gather around, as they supply content in the form of text, images, video and advertisements.
- First published in 1905 under a different name. At various stages in its life it has been in both tabloid and broadsheet formats. It had its own photographers, designers, ad sales force and web producers.
- A weekly tabloid-sized newspaper, additionally producing a special section that is printed and distributed bi-weekly.
- Produce content meant for the Web.
- Produce a 10-minute daily newscast that was broadcast on campus and uploaded to the Scroll site.
- Much the same, but growing in size and scope.
- Produce content specifically for the web and offer advertising.
Rixida yearbook / special projects
- This yearbook group produced an interactive yearbook that was distributed on DVD.
- A special projects / multimedia unit for all other i-Comm organizations. If, for example, PR needs a promotional DVD or Alloy needs some Flash® animation they come to Rixida.
- Also sell professional multimedia development services to outside entities.
Synergy Sales group
- This formerly nameless organization was the sales arm of Scroll Advertising. They also employed designers to create advertisements.
- Sells advertising for Scroll. If the ad is not camera-ready The salesperson coordinates with Genesis Design to have the ad produced. If clients want an ad campaign or other special advertising services the Synergy salesperson hands them over to Alloy Ad Agency and receives a commission for the deal.
- Also sell advertising for I-News and the Web site.
- Provided ad agency services to campus entities. Several designers were hired to fill their graphic design needs. Other services (photo, video, etc.) had to be hired out. Public relations was an arm of Scroll, used to promote Scroll and the Communication Department.
- A full blown agency, providing advertising and public relations services. Their design needs are now serviced by Genesis design.
- Also sell professional agency services to outside entities.
- Did not exist as a whole. All former organizations would simply hire a couple of designers to serve their own needs, and the photo section was a part of Scroll.
- A design group that serves i-Comm as a whole and all of its organizations individually. It provides graphic design, photography and video services.
- Also sell professional design services to outside entities.
- Formerly a part of Scroll. They would copy the newspaper text from the InDesign documents and paste it into static HTML pages. Occasionally they would produce image galleries or audio / video clips.
- Still in Scroll-copy-paste mode, but preparing for all out, Web 2.0 goodness.
- Rule the world.
If you or anyone you know wants to pursue an education in Communication, please join us. BYU-Idaho is a unique university located in a small town and beautiful countryside.