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Communications professors make presentation to Chinese media executives

ISSUED: 17 October 2016
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Three Shepherd University communications professors made a presentation to 20 media executives from China who are visiting the area to learn more about media operations and education in the United States.

Dr. Jason McKahan, associate professor of mass communications and chair of the Department of Mass Communications, Dr. Kevin Williams, professor of mass communications, and Dr. Matt Kushin, associate professor of mass communications, presented a workshop on Wednesday, October 12, on the development of communication and media in the internet age.

The 20 Chinese executives, from Guangxi Province, China, are taking a seven-day training program at Kaplan University in Hagerstown. Topics covered include the development of the U.S. publishing and broadcasting industry, media management in the internet age, survival and development of traditional media in the era of second-generation internet, social media and media convergence.

McKahan, Williams, and Kushin said they’re excited they were able to meet the executives, to highlight what Shepherd’s Department of Mass Communications offers, and to learn how communication is taught in China versus here.

“There was a rich opportunity for exchange—to understand how they are looking at and projecting communication education in China and what kind of resources they have,” McKahan said. “I think there are probably a lot of similarities in ideas about instruction but there are also cultural differences.”

“It’s a different nation and you have a different structure of media,” Williams added. “We find that there’s a very common thread in terms of journalists and people who want to tell stories. We in America can say things pretty boldly. That’s not true everywhere. When you look at a different nation there’s always a chance to learn about their ways.”

Williams told the Chinese executives how he has been teaching students to take whatever audio and video is given to them and make it sound and look its absolute best.

“I talked about some tricks of the trade that can be used to make sure that the video and audio attracts people’s eyes and ears, gets people’s attention, and stands out,” Williams said.

Kushin teaches the communication department’s social and strategic communication classes. He discussed how Shepherd students are learning to use cutting-edge tools to tell stories for businesses and organizations, to be brand ambassadors, and to build relationships between organizations and the public.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity,” Kushin said. “I think it represents the global nature of what we do here at Shepherd. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate the world-class teaching offered in our department and the cutting-edge technology, education, and preparation that our students are getting.”

Kushin was also excited to be able to network with the Chinese executives and learn more about how they work with new media.

“I was hoping to get a sense of their interest in the global communication field, how it’s changing, and the connection between educating students and educating people to think globally,” Kushin said. “I think it was a good opportunity to learn from them, get a sense of the things they’re doing, and find out what their interests are.”

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