Ian MacDonald — Staff Writer
Changes in academics don’t happen often, but when they do students take notice. One change Dordt University has made is a new broadcasting minor.
This minor has some history at Dordt. A few years ago, the college had a broadcasting major. For unknown reasons, the major shut down.
The initial shut down disappointed Rich Lodewyk, Dordt’s media network director, making him all the more excited for the new minor this year.
Lodewyk said the most exciting thing about the new minor is it will build stronger connections between academics and the Dordt Media Network, an extracurricular broadcasting program where students gain hands-on experience in the field.
The communication department is thankful for its various programs and clubs, but what makes Dordt Media Network shine is their new equipment.
Because equipment is becoming more affordable and easier to use, Dordt Media Network has new tools and gadgets at its fingertips. This accessibility is a primary reason behind Dordt’s decision to reintroduce the minor.
Lee Pitts, journalism and communication professor at Dordt, said the best way the journalism program can grow is by keeping up to date with equipment.
Pitts believes “modernizing” the journalism program is a huge step forward into keeping up to date with the rest of the world.
“It’s a good way to tell stories to a larger culture,” Pitts said. “More people consume film and audio than paper nowadays.”
At its core, the minor teaches students the basics of journalism.
The minor also added the class Sports Broadcasting, which Dordt will offer in the spring every other year. Sports broadcasting is a big part of what the Dordt Media Network does, and the course should further connect sports and academics.
“This minor really gives an opportunity for Rich Lodewyk to lean into his strengths,” Pitts said. “He has the experience in the field and can bring the minor to a whole new level. He brings real world experience. Not just theoretical, but practical.”
Lodewyk also thinks the minor is a great way to introduce recruiting to the Dordt Media Network by bringing in students who can work while learning the ins and outs of it all.
“We can bring students in who could study it and get hands-on learning experience,” Lodewyk said.
The broadcasting minor could grow and expand due to a lot of things, but one aspect the communication department hopes for is the addition of a Dordt news station.
A news station would add enough layers of depth to the minor that it could reclaim its place as a major.
“Dordt always shows growth in all of its programs, so it wouldn’t surprise me,” Pitts said.
Lodewyk sees a Dordt broadcast news station as completely possible. It could be directly related to the Diamond. He sees this as an opportunity for journalism students to see the technological side of their field.
“One of the names floating around was ‘Diamond on Air,’” Lodewyk said.
Another hope is to build a news station set for the students. This would include all the features of the Dordt broadcasting truck and set cameras where students can continue to work on their craft.
“In my opinion, it’s only a matter of time,” Lodewyk said.