Q&A with Hemant Shah, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This week we’re kicking off W2O Days at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (#UW2O)! Modeled after the success of our Syracuse University Social Commerce Days, this inaugural two-day event is focused on educating students about healthcare marketing and communications by connecting them with industry leaders and having some the best and brightest minds instructing them. One of bright those minds includes Hemant Shah, Director, School of Journalism and Mass Communication; Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In his interview below, he discusses the importance of bringing industry, agencies, and academia together, and outlines how journalism has evolved over the past 30 years.

You’ve served as the director of the School of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin, Madison for five years. Tell us about your approach to teaching journalism and mass communication in today’s environment?

Hemant: I emphasize that Journalism and Mass Communication is liberal arts degree, so that while we provide solid training in communication fundamentals we insist that students also develop their skills in critical thinking, careful data analysis, and innovative problem solving all with attention to ethical communication practice.

According to your bio, you joined the school’s faculty back in 1990. What changes in journalism have you seen over the last 30 years?

Hemant: Journalism today is a multi-platform, multi-media, around-the-clock enterprise these days, whether you are a print, television or strictly online venue. Not all news outlets have adapted to the new fast-paced journalism world with its changed economic model emphasizing clicks and online ads. But at its core, journalism at its best still is about  reporting facts, holding the powerful accountable and revealing the truth.

Talk about the importance of joint programs that bring industry, and agencies like ours, and academia together.

Hemant: Students get a glimpse at the “real world” of agency work in the health comm arena. Faculty who are doing cutting edge health communication work will see potential for application of their work. You will get to meet our incredible students.

W2O Group
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