In today’s culture, all it takes are 280 characters to influence minds, for better or for worse. As tweets, 24-hour news channels, and opinion pieces continue to shape the narrative for everyone across the globe, Christendom College students are working to learn the marketing and communications skills necessary to effectively share the Truth in today’s culture — skills they were able to learn this semester through several workshops offered to them at the college.
For years now, students have had the opportunity to gain valuable marketing and communications tools at Christendom through various internships and on-campus jobs, often leading to successful marketing careers later. These new workshops, however, offered students the first opportunity to learn these valuable skills broadly as a student body. Hosted by the college’s Marketing and Communications Department, students were able to learn more about journalism, social media, videography, and photography over the course of four individual sessions.
“I attended the workshops because I am interested in working in marketing and communications after graduation and was so excited for this opportunity to learn more about this field,” said sophomore Margaret Fleischer, who attended all four sessions. “I found the workshops valuable because it was an exciting and fun opportunity to learn from the school’s marketing professionals, ask them questions, and obtain hand-on experience, such as filming a mock interview and framing an ideal shot for photography.
Beginning in February, students were able to learn more about journalism from National Review and The Spectator writer Madeline Kearns, who graciously gave of her time to speak to students about the process and structure of a persuasive article, specifically from the Catholic perspective. Hosted by the college’s new student-run magazine Metanoia, Kearns’ workshop gave students the opportunity to hear about how she found success and also what steps students can take right now to become journalists as well, especially in regards to writing.
“The most important thing you can do if you want to be a writer is write,” said Kearns. “It does not matter if it never gets published. Sustained effort is what it takes to get things done. The great thing about having deadlines is that it forces you into that habit.”
In a news space that is often filled with inflammatory comments and noise without nuance, Kearns provided students with a roadmap to creating articles that dig into the hot topics of today in a manner that offers room for perspective and debate, rather than just an echo chamber.
Following that workshop, students had the opportunity to dig deeper into other aspects of marketing and communications with the college’s Marketing team, including learning more about social media from Associate Director of Marketing & Communications Zach Smith, who oversees all social media for the college. Over the course of his session, students were able to learn the basics of social media management for a brand, including choosing the right stories to tell, creating engaging content, and building a devoted audience. Every major brand has an established and successful social media following today, making it necessary for students going into that space to know how to use it most effectively.
Niall O’Donnell, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Christendom and chief creator of video content for the college, brought students together for a hands-on videography workshop in another session, teaching them the basic principles of camera operations, lighting, sound, and video editing. Students had the unique opportunity to even conduct a mock interview on camera, running the equipment, lighting a set, and more, giving them valuable experience in how to create engaging video content for a brand.
In the final session for the semester, students were able to learn more about photography from Communications and Creative Services Specialist Julie Wells. Wells, who manages all photography for Christendom, taught students the basics of portraiture and event photography during the session, including more about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Students were able to use professional Canon cameras during the session, giving them a taste of how to take better pictures, whether for personal or professional use.
By the end of the four sessions, students, like Fleischer, were excited to continue using the skills learned for future job opportunities.
“I really enjoyed learning how to film an interview, manage a social media account, and frame a shot when taking pictures,” concluded Fleischer. “The workshops helped inspire me to want to learn more about this field, and I hope to use the skills that I learned in the future.”
After the success of these workshops, the college’s Marketing and Communications Department is planning on offering even more learning opportunities in the future, helping even more students learn and hone these important skills.
Marketing and communications skills will become more necessary as the culture continues to speed up and become even more digital. The traditional means of communicating ideas may be ever-changing, but the Truth remains the same. By learning the skills necessary to better communicate it today, students are preparing themselves to be the thought leaders the world so desperately needs.