The Department of Multimedia Communication faces changes to curriculum

Simpson’s Department of Multimedia Communication’s curriculum will enter into the 2022-2023 school year with a new makeover.

Three communications studies courses will be changing their number scheme: Media & PR Writing will change from COMM 211 to COMM 111, Media Law and Ethics will change from COMM 301 to COMM 271, and U.S. Media History will change from COMM 351 to COMM 251.

These changes will be effective on Tuesday, March 29th—Simpson’s first day of registration for fall 2022 courses.

Departmental course renumbering is a by-product of Simpson’s new core curriculum. Simpson is phasing out of the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum (ECC), which requires students to obtain seven Areas of Engagement and Embedded Skills through various courses. The new system has introduced new categories and is organized where only 100 and 200-level courses count toward the core, as opposed to the previous ECC.

The reasoning behind why the those three specific COMM courses were changed is a combination of the new core’s organization and faculty input.

One course in particular, Media & PR Writing, will be renumbered as a lower level class and act as a pre-requisite for first year students looking to take COMM 155, or Professional Skills Practicum. Seeing how COMM 155 is a hands-on course immersing students in Simpson Student Media (i.e. The Simpsonian, ID Magazine, KSTM Radio, and SCTV), it makes sense that students should take a course about the fundamentals of news writing, news judgement, and news gathering first.

Despite these considerable changes, Associate Professor of Multimedia Communications Mark Siebert feels the course renumbering is reasonable, especially now that students must now transition from Media & PR writing into working with Simpson Student Media, which Siebert is the faculty director for.

“We needed to change course numbers so we could adjust to Simpson’s new curriculum,” Siebert said. “We also decided we should make the old Media and PR Writing from COMM 211 to 111 since it didn’t make sense to have a higher numbered course as a prerequisite for a lower numbered course, which is COMM 155 or Practicum.”

Students with questions about what these changes could mean for their registration should contact their advisors or call the Office of the Registrar at 515-961-1642.

#TuesdayTips – Resources for Women in Journalism

Photo by Chelsi Peter on

The United States declares March as Women’s History Month–the annual celebration and commemoration of the endless cultural, political, and socioeconomic contributions of women throughout history and within contemporary America.

The presence of women in newsrooms began notably in the late 19th-early 20th century, though many were limited in what they could cover (for example society reporting, fashion, or food). Despite the countless strides women in journalism have made, a gender gap still exists in the field.

Let’s look at some research about women in the news field:

A 2022 study by the Reuters Institute analyzed the gender breakdown of top editors within 240 major online and print news outlets across five continents. They found that only 21% of the top 179 editors across all outlets were women, despite the fact that women made up approximately 40% of the journalists included in the study. You can find the full study here.

The Pew Research Center has also backed a 2018 study which found that women and minorities are paid the least in newsrooms. This study examined seven pay-equity studies from newsrooms (both with and without union representation) to gauge pay disparities present within journalism. They concluded that white men both earned the most and held the most high-level positions of all demographics, while women of color made the least overall.

Women are still fighting for wide-scale recognition in the news industry today, and they often face unique challenges when conducting their reporting.

In celebration of Women’s History Month and in consideration of the gender gap within journalism, here are a few resources for women hoping to go into journalism:

The Coalition for Women in Journalism (CFWIJ)

The CFWIJ is an advocacy organization aiming to support women and LGBTQIA+ journalists around the world that offers female journalists resources, research, and mentoring, among other things.

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF)

The IWMF offers safety training, reporting trips, and byline opportunities tailored to women journalists of all skill and experience levels across the globe. They also provide opportunities like reporting fellowships, grants, mentorship and professional development, and emergency assistance for women journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote press freedom and safety worldwide. They offer safety guides for journalists, namely Physical Safety: Solo Reporting and Physical Safety: Mitigating Sexual Violence. They also provide data regarding missing, killed, and imprisoned journalists.

You are NOT Alone – International Federation of Journalists Campaign

This campaign was launched by the IFJ in wake of the growing prevalence of online trolling and harassment women journalists face, namely because they are gendered and sexualized. The campaign provides research on topics related to online harassment, gender-based violence, and sexism within newsrooms. ‘You are NOT Alone’ also provides support and resources to directly address these problems and pressure local governments/mainstream outlets for meaningful change.

The Cohort

The Cohort is a bi-monthly e-newsletter published by Poynter that focuses on conversations about gender in media. The Cohort also features other resources and job listings tailored to women in media. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM)

The AWM is a women-run organization that works to support women across all media industries, namely through network expansion and education. They feature a career center that gives members access to job opportunities and job recruiters access to candidates who are women. The AWM also hosts several annual events for women to participate in and foster a community.

Here are some other notable resources for women in journalism:

UNESCO- Safety of Women Journalists

Beyond Bylines: 7 Career Resources for Women in the Media

Online SOS: Resources for Journalists

Women’s Media Center

The Coalition Against Online Violence

#TuesdayTips – Financial Tips for Aspiring Journalists

Photo by cottonbro on

If you’re pursuing a career in journalism, then you’re probably aware that it’s not an incredibly lucrative field. Though journalists on average don’t have particularly bad salaries ($49,300 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), issues like high costs of living and declining newsroom employment should be considered when planning to enter the workforce.

These facts may seem scary. Nearly everyone (especially college students battling student loan debt) wants to be financially stable and make good money, regardless of their career field.

Thankfully, there are a few resources and websites specific to the news industry that may provide helpful financial guidance.

The Lead

The Lead is a weekly e-newsletter that provides student journalists with a plethora of resources, career opportunities, and news media content about other student journalists and newsrooms across the country.

The Lead published an article in September 2021 titled “Personal finance tips for student journalists: Navigating your first job offer, budgeting and more,” which includes insight from Julia Carpenter, a journalist covering personal finance for The Wall Street Journal. Some of her tips include knowing how to negotiate your salary, examining your employment contract, and budgeting in a way that best fits your lifestyle.

You can read the full article below:

If you’re more interested in the freelance journalism route, Freelance Writing is your one-stop-shop to find high-paying job opportunities and establish a network of clients. They provide resources specific to freelance writers, regularly post jobs or other freelancing “gigs”, and publish content related to freelance writing.

One of their website posts details 10 tips for freelance writers managing their own finances, like opening a separate checking account for your business endeavors, keeping orderly records, and investing in a time-and-billing software program.

You can read all 10 tips below:

Look for scholarships specific to journalism/the news industry

In addition to pursuing needs or merit-based scholarships, college students studying journalism should research scholarships specific to journalism–and there are plenty of organizations bustling with scholarship opportunities for young, aspiring journalists.

Here are a few to get started:

The Society of Professional Journalists

The National Press Club

The National Association of Black Journalists

The Association for Women in Sports Media

The Association of LGBTQ Journalists – Journalism & Public Relation Scholarships

#TuesdayTips – Resources for Black Journalists with Evan Burley

Senior Evan Burley

To honor and amplify Black History Month, today’s #TuesdayTips features Evan Burley, a senior English major and multimedia journalism minor at Simpson College.

Burley is this year’s Opinion Editor for The Simpsonian, Simpson’s student-run weekly newspaper, and has reported on several issues relating to race, representation and equity in America. He shared some of the resources he’s used while navigating his own identity in a predominantly white industry.

“Being a mixed Black person in a predominately white newsroom can be an isolating, frustrating and at times exhausting experience. There have been plenty of times where I considered quitting,” Burley said. “These resources have been helpful in helping me feel less alone and providing resources and advice I can turn to.”

The Collective

The Collective, a newsletter from the Poynter Institute that posts advice and opportunities for Black, Brown and Asian student journalists,” Burley said. You can subscribe to their newsletter through this link.

Keeping up with Black content on Social Media

“Following Black journalists, columnists and critics,” Burley said. He listed 10 to get started: @DaShaunLH, @jbouie, @WeekesPrincess, @haaniyah, @offbeatorbit, @bigblackjacobin, @kat__stafford, @adashtra, @WrittenByHanna, @AsteadWesley and @battymamzelle

The National Association of Black Journalists

“The National Association of Black Journalists — which also has a Twitter account — website is filled with resources for Black students and professional journalists,” Burley said. “Scholarship, fellowship and internship opportunities, as well as career databases and event information, can be found here.“ Here’s a link to their website for more information.

You can read some of Burley’s work in The Simpsonian here.

MLK in Media: A look at the magazine column contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. King addressing the crowd during the March on Washington (Francis Miller, Getty Images)

Most of us think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as solely the figurehead of the Civil Rights Movement during the 1950’s and 60’s. Though that would be correct, King did many things outside of his activism — he even ventured into journalism.

King actually penned an advice column for EBONY Magazine in 1957 and 1958 titled “Advice for Living,” which addressed mail received by the magazine’s editors calling on King for advice. Before any of his columns were published, EBONY’s sister publication ran an ad for “Advice for Living” which said, “let the man that led the Montgomery boycott lead you into happier living.” 

Courtesy of EBONY Magazine, 1958

His columns detailed advice on issues ranging from racism, marriage, success, faith, and even music. Aside from providing guidance, his columns were notable in that he opened up a window which connected a form of media with the Black, middle-class population.

Though the advice detailed in “Advice for Living” were insightful and seen as significant in normalizign the Black experience, it should be noted that some of King’s views on issues such as gender roles or sexuality may be seen as outdated today.

EBONY is a black-owned, monthly magazine publication whose mission is to shine a spotlight on the worlds of Black people in America and worldwide, showcasing the best achievements of Black individuals while highlighting the disparities the Black community face. You can view their content here.

King also wrote a biweekly column for the New York Amsterdam News, a weekly newspaper covering issues concerning the African American community–one of the four largest Black newspapers in the United States during its prime.

King’s work with the New York Amsterdam News, which lasted from 1962 to 1966, highlighted his views on a myriad of contemporary issues, typically those relating to the Civil Rights Movement.

The New York Amsterdam News contains columns written by other Black revolutionaries, like W.E.B Du Bois, Malcom X, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. You can read their content here.

King was not only masterful in his activism and crowd-drawing — his talents spread across multiple platforms, like print media. If you’re interested in reading some of King’s columns, you can browse through them on EBONY’s site.


Simpson Student Media previews Fall 2021 Issue of ID Magazine

Fall 2021 ID Magazine Promotional Flyer

The fall 2021 issue of ID Magazine, Simpson College’s biannual, student-run magazine, will be released on Wednesday, Dec. 8 from 10:30 to 1:30 in Kent Campus Center.

This semester’s publication is titled “Boys Don’t Cry,” and follows an underlying theme of uncomfortable topics that need to be talked about, highlighting issues like the implications of traditional masculinity, sex education, cancel culture, gender orientation, critical race theory and more.

Senior Editor-in-Chief Liv Allen hopes the magazine helps the Simpson community become more educated on the key issues highlighted within the stories. She also hopes it sparks discussion.

“I’m so excited to bring my first issue of ID Magazine to life for the Simpson student body and community,” Allen said. “The topics we highlighted are conversations worth having. Our staff at ID Magazine invite our readers to read our stories critically and set aside any internal biases or preconceived notions about the subject matter we’ve written about. My goal with this publication is to spread awareness on key issues that affect many in our community, and to make our readers stop and think.”

Allen shared that the magazine wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and design skills of junior Katie Burns, ID Magazine’s Layout Editor.

“I love working with all the editors and staff that help make the magazine come to life,” Burns said. “I’m excited to see students reaction on the magazine and to show the hard work we have put in all semester.”

Senior staff reporter Riley Fletcher wrote a feature article about gender orientation on college campuses; she hopes readers learn from her article just as she did when conducting her reporting.

“My experience writing for ID Magazine was incredibly rewarding. I love learning about people and their thoughts and experiences, and I especially love getting to share those things with the world,” Fletcher said. “I always learn something new while writing stories and I thankful I’m able to spread that knowledge to my community.”

Senior Evan Burley said his story, titled “Sowing Division,” challenged his skills as a journalist, and he’s excited to see how readers digest his hard work. Burley’s story details the progress and pushback of Critical Race Theory in America.

“Writing for this issue of ID Magazine was my most challenging experience to date. It really tested my fact checking, researching, and interviewing abilities. I’m proud of the completed project, and of everyone’s hard work, so I’m excited for the magazine’s release.

In addition to the release date, ID Magazine staff will be hosting promotional tables in Kent Campus Center on Thursday, Dec. 9 and Friday, Dec. 10 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and at the Late-Night Breakfast in Pfeiffer Dining Hall on Dec. 14 from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Any questions or concerns related to ID Magazine can be directed to

#TuesdayTips – Taking Stats with Morgan Flynn

Junior Morgan Flynn

If you’re considering a career in sports communications or sports information, it’s imperative that you become a pro at taking stats and/or reporting on athletic events.

Some sports move fast, so keeping track of stats while noting game-changing plays can get stressful for beginners.

Junior Morgan Flynn is the Sports Editor for The Simpsonian; she’s reported on her fair share of athletic events. She’s also become skilled at taking stats and recording sports information as the Home Events Undergraduate Assistant for Simpson Athletics. Here are a few of her tips on taking stats and reporting on athletics:

Do your Research

“Do some pre-game research on the teams, leading scorers, highest batting percentage, etc.,” Flynn said.

The Early Bird gets the Worm

“Get to the game early to settle in and prepare,” Flynn said.

Familiarize Yourself with the Game

“Understand the sport you’re covering,” Flynn said. “If you have to cover something that you’re less familiar with, don’t be afraid to use your resources like online stats or the sports communication staff.”

Find your Routine

“Develop your own stat keeping system that works for you,” Flynn said.

Consider the Whole Game

“Stats don’t lie–but it’s not all about stats,” Flynn said. “Keep an eye out for good plays/overall performances.”

Know your Readers

“If you’re going to use stats in an article, make sure people understand and care about what that means for a team or player,” Flynn said.

#TuesdayTips – Web Layout with Isaac Parks

Senior Isaac Parks

In this age of mass digitization, media communication outlets are heavily reliant on their company’s website as a means of storing and delivering data and information to their users.

Often times, websites (and their features) are a company or outlet’s first impression on a potential customer or reader, which is why it’s important to maintain a quality website.

Simpson College senior Isaac Parks is The Simpsonian’s website editor. He’s planning to rebrand The Simpsonian’s website for the upcoming spring 2022 semester. Here are a few of his tips on how to create an efficient and attractive website:

Plan Ahead

“Your website design/creation process goes much smoother if you have an idea of what you want your website to look like beforehand,” Parks said.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

“Take inspiration or ideas from other good looking websites and implement those into your own,” Parks said.

Understand your audience

“Go through your website process as if you were dealing with a customer base,” Parks said. “If you’re selling something, does it make the buying process easy? Who do you want to appeal to?”

Stay up to Date

“Change your layout often,” Parks said. “If you have a new product, service, etc., your website should reflect that change.”

Learn to Code

“Template websites like WordPress are a good place to start, but they can only go so far,” Parks said. “Coding a website isn’t as difficult as it seems and has many advantages over template designing.”

#TuesdayTips – Writing opinion pieces with Evan Burley

Evan Burley ’22

Writing opinion articles are quite fun–you have significantly more creative control with your writing, as opposed to covering hard news or feature stories.

However, journalists writing opinion pieces are still held to a standard of professionalism, and certain lines should not be crossed.

Evan Burley, senior Opinion Editor for The Simpsonian, has a few tips for how student journalists can write opinion articles in an organized and ethical way.

Have a Game Plan

“Structure is key; without it, you might be ranting rather than writing an opinion piece,” Burley said.

Use Evidence

“If you’re arguing a point, properly back yourself up,” Burley said. “Lots of people have opinions, but the ones worth reading are the ones with substance.”

Always Proof-read

“Get other sets of eyes on your work. It could be a roommate, a friend, your editor, or even reading it aloud to yourself,” Burley said. “Not everything that sounds great in your head translates well on paper.”


“Much like gathering plenty of evidence, make sure any research or articles you include is accurate and in context,” Burley said. “Remember, other people are going to read what you write, and there’s nothing worse than being loud and wrong.”

Write with a Purpose

“Ask yourself whether this is something to be published or better in your journal,” Burley said. “That might sound harsh, but it’s important to ask yourself why you’re writing what you are, why it needs to be seen by others and what kind of impact it might have.”

You can read opinion articles published in The Simpsonian in the link below:

Simpson Student Media gets into the Halloween Spirit

The Simpsonian, Simpson College’s student-run newspaper, has undergone a Halloween-themed makeover for this week’s edition.

The publication’s title for this week is “The Scarysonian”; the edition features nine stories tailored to the Halloween season.

“We wanted something fun and lighthearted to brighten readers spirits,” Editor-in-Chief Amelia Schafer said. “It’s been a very stressful past two years and making a fun and cute theme for the article hopefully helped to lift students spirits.”

*AGE* staff reporter Max Bertrand made a DIY Halloween costumes listicle, and senior News Editor Jordyn Wilson wrote Halloween costume-themed horoscopes (or, in this week’s case, “Horrorscopes”).

*AGE* staff reporter Caleb Geer wrote a recap of Simpson’s Homecoming, which was Halloween themed. *AGE* staff reporter Jenna Prather wrote an article reflecting on the absence of Safe Block, a longstanding trick-or-treating tradition at Simpson College that has discontinued due to the continuing effects of COVID-19.

Simpson Student Media had somewhat of a ghostly pattern–The Scarysonian included two articles about ghosts with an accompanying SCTV video package about ghost stories at Simpson College.

Schafer wrote a feature story about the history behind campus’ fabled Millie the ghost. Schafer details the life and legacy of Mildred Lola Hedges, a 1935 Simpson student who tragically fell to her death in College Hall at the age of 22. There have been numerous accounts of her spirit lingering on campus, some of which are supported by famous paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, who investigated her presence in College Hall in 1979. You can read more about Hedges and her life below.

Junior staff reporter Morgan Parrish’s followed up Schafer’s feature with an article detailing students’ paranormal experiences on campus, which is coupled with junior Video Editor Sophie Reese’s video package on the same topic. You can watch it below.

Junior Feature Editor Paul Hyatt wrote an opinion article about horror movies, and senior Layout Editor Bailey Earls wrote a review on the new “Halloween Kills” movie.

The Halloween spirit didn’t end with The Scarysonian.

SCTV’s anchors, senior Liv Allen and junior Ethan Humble, both sported a Halloween costume during this week’s newscast. The episode also featured a video package about what Simpson students are doing to celebrate Halloween.

You can watch the spooky newscast on The Simpsonian’s Youtube channel, which is linked below.