Journalism students have gained new perspectives on the development of media technology and its impact on people's lives through one of the featured courses "Media and Society" in the Spring quarter.
The "Media and Society" course is a walkthrough of the history of mass communication in the United States. All types of media including newspapers, magazines, books, radio broadcast, recorded music, television, films, internet and smartphones (the third screen) are covered in the 10-week of study. At different points of history, different types of media experience their rise and fall, which have posed an important impact on our culture and society.
Students enrolled in the course were required to research the latest media technology and business trends as their final projects. A few interesting topics were addressed.
Freshman student Zike Zhang, who has a background in computer science prior to pursuing his journalism study, presented his research on 5G technology. He suggested that the birth of 5G technology ushered the era of "the Internet of Everything." It means that every object can become information collection and output end through 5G connection, therefore now "everything is media, everything is a platform." This will revolutionize the way of newsgathering, production and dissemination.
With 5G connectivity, integration of artificial intelligence in newsrooms will soon become a norm. However, Zhang predicted that professional journalists are irreplaceable because robots are limited in terms of producing in-depth coverage and creative contents.
Another student Abby Peng researched on the development of WeChat, a mobile application founded in China. WeChat Pay (similar to Apple Pay) and WeChat mini program have opened numerous opportunities for Chinese businesses, even market stalls on the streets have adopted the technology.
WeChat official accounts provide leverage to media organizations and individuals to share contents that may not be able to pass the censorship in mainstream outlets. WeChat will continue to transform the media landscape in China with its superpower in connecting people.
"The media is undergoing profound changes in this century. By studying the Media and Society course, I have broadened my thoughts. Now I can see a clear picture in different stages of history and many times Christians have missed the opportunity to use the media for God's work. I want to be the one to adopt the latest media technologies and advance the Gospel even further," shared Zhang.