Emerging Digital Tools for Communications Majors Who Study Abroad

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According to the American Press Institute, more people engage with communications and news media now than ever before. They say more than half of Americans aged 18-40 read newspaper content every week – but they are accessing this content in new, digital ways.

As the field of journalism changes, online communications careers are becoming more viable than ever. If you’re considering a career in communications, traditional qualities like curiosity and strong writing skills will start you off on the right track, while an understanding of the shifting digital media scene will give you a competitive edge.

Studying communications abroad at an internationally minded university like John Cabot University (JCU) is the ideal preparation for exploring these emerging opportunities. Here’s our guide to essential digital tools for future communications careers:

New Innovations in Online Research-Gathering Tools

Your experience studying communications in a liberal arts university environment will equip you with the sharp critical thinking and analytical skills you’ll need to succeed in the field of journalism. You’re made for this work if you’re already a curious person, and interested in experiencing other cultures from the inside out when you study abroad. The research skills you develop in school can help you turn this curiosity into a career.

Research and fact-finding has always been an integral aspect of journalism jobs. As the Internet expands and reshapes our communications landscape, it offers useful digital tools that take student research far beyond Google.

Let’s say you’re looking for an academic or scientific source for an assignment when you study abroad. You can try CORE and BASE, open access search engines that generate trusted, peer-reviewed, and ad-free results. Or consider exploring the online Electronic Data-Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval System (EDGAR) when your assignments could benefit from research into public international policy documents. Favored by professional journalists, these tools can help you cut through the noise and find the precise stats and quotes you need.

Futuristic Fieldwork: Study Abroad Students Practice Multimedia Storytelling

Today’s digital audiences want to engage with more than just black and white text. With simple digital tools like your phone, you can improve your reporting with location-specific, visually enhanced work.

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JCU students captured on camera at a campus event

While you earn your communications bachelor degree abroad, take advantage of site-specific multimedia reporting techniques like Storify and Co Everywhere. These tools make it easy to aggregate information related to a particular topic at hand, through search-engine optimized (SEO) keywords and ‘hashtagged’ data. You can also use them to add your work to the broader network of media in your area – creating ‘story maps’ digitally anchored to the places (Roman neighborhoods, landmarks, etc.) where you created them.

You’ll also be able to access digital photography courses at international schools like JCU, which help communications-career hopefuls like you hone your craft. Adding photojournalism to your skillset won’t only make for more interesting and professional-looking work, but will also help you stand out on the employment and post-graduate application scene.

Video Production Tools to Master While You Study Communications in Rome

According to The Poynter Institute, short videos were the most popular news medium for 2015, with the success of Vine and Vimeo dominating much of the communications media scene. To make truly professional-standard videos, today’s journalism grads are expected to have their own video footage editing skills.

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JCU communications students at the launch of the university’s new digital media lab in 2014

For example, JCU’s communication students get hands-on experience with 27-inch IMac computers featuring Final Cut Pro X, which allows them to do quick, clean video edits ideal for online video publishing – from short clips to extended creative media pieces and beyond.

With the right training and your finger on the pulse of this fast-paced industry, nothing can stop you from making your mark in a communications career of your own!

Would you like to study communications in Rome?

Visit JCU for more information or to speak with an advisor.

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