Convergence offers seniors a chance to build new skills

By Chris Jones
October 2, 2003

Besides the new science building being built and Jazzman’s up and about, Cabrini also has a new course. The senior convergence class taught by Dr. Hal Halbert, professor of English/communications, is attempting to redefine communications.

This year, the class will analyze and study the merging of communications. Media producers used to just put products out and weren’t fully aware of who were looking at the products. “Convergence requires media producers to rethink their product, so before they think about it they have to think of where else it would be shown,” said Halbert. Producers have to know the audience they want to target.

First, AOL converged with Time Warner, and now it looks like Microsoft is trying to merge with a cable company as well. However, this is more of a corporate issue.

The senior convergence class will be dealing on a more technological level. “Convergence is a tricky concept because it can be looked at as a corporate issue and a technological issue. On a corporate level, different companies work together to produce and cross promote hybrid products. On a technological level, are writers, videographers, audio people, and even marketing folks have to work together before products for different media and purposes. Products produced for one medium, like a newspaper should be re-purposed by revising and either expanding or altering the story for the audiences’ expectations of the other medium.”

The convergence class is also working on two big projects this year. A Woodcrest DVD will be produced, which will coincide with Woodcrest magazine. Included in the DVD will be a movie, interviews, a group story, full text and full screen.

The next project will consist of the class producing a media kit for a local band called Lovebomb. They will also create video, audio clips, live and written information about the band, a website, which includes photos, bios, links, upcoming events, and a possible diary.

Cathy Yungmann, an English/Communications professor, WYBF, and the Loquitur will all take part in helping the convergence class explore different blends of media. “It’s exciting because content produced in a convergence environment is more than the sum of its parts. Convergence done well makes an entirely new product,” Halbert said.

Posted to the web by Marisa Gallelli

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Chris Jones

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