Exploring The World Through Communication Studies

Now more than ever, it is important for us as future employees to set ourselves apart from the competition. What better way then to study and live in another country? UNCW encourages travel abroad and specifically our very own Communication Studies Department, offers a multitude of opportunities.

The Office of International Programs and our department offer a variety of programs tailed to fit any student seeking to gain insight into life across the pond or even across the world.  Programs can range in a length from about 10 days all the way up to one year. A variety of university’s in a number of counties are already approved for study, specifically to the Communication Department, Swansea University. During the Spring 09 semester we even had one of our own faculty members serve as a leader for students.

While abroad there are many opportunities one can engage in to enrich their cultural experiences.  Students can take classes at accredited universities, which count toward their degree from UNCW.  Communication classes can be taken in marketing as well as public relations and advertising. Taking classes in a different environment helps to put a fresh outlook on concepts we have learned. Various internships are also available through certain programs and in certain countries. Imagine gaining work experience internationally! Traveling is encouraged during school breaks and weekends to other countries via train or air.  This is a great way to see parts of the world you might not otherwise have such easy access to.

Studying abroad not only allows you go places you’ve never been, it is also helpful in giving a fresh prospective to your academic studies and sets you apart to future employers. Experiencing things you may not have the opportunity to on a traditional vacation makes you more aware of the world we live in. Take advantage of any opportunity available to you and I promise you won’t regret it!

-Jess Smith

Why work for free?

Communication Studies has become a popular major among students at UNCW over the past few years. With a wide variety of sub-fields, including media production, public relations, and communication technologies, the department certainly gives students many options for potential careers. Prior to graduation, students are encouraged to gain knowledge and work experience in the communication studies field through an internship. An internship gives students a chance to actually apply their training and knowledge, and gain more insight into that type of work.

Searching for internships can be difficult. Places such as CMT and MTV have been popular places to look for internships outside of the Wilmington vicinity that are still related to communication studies. But there are numerous opportunities for internships in Wilmington as well. Competition is high, but the experience is once in a lifetime. Whether paid or not, everyone walks away with more experience than before.

Internships are extremely beneficial when searching for a possible career in the field of communications. Although many students would prefer having an internship with a large and well-known company, any experience is better than none at all. As an intern with the event coordinator at the Bluewater Grill, I have learned a great deal about event planning and the work experience has certainly been beneficial.

The Communication Studies department at UNCW works with students to find the perfect internship to suit their needs. The department offers credit hours in place of getting paid for the internship. Sure, getting paid would be ideal, but why not get school credit for such valuable work experience? Through the Communication Studies website, students may access information on how to find an internship, along with how to get course credit for their internship.

The value of an internship cannot be put into words. Not only can internships open doors for future jobs and careers, but having the ability to combine the formal training with realistic practice makes the internship well worth the time. As an intern, I can only hope that everyone finds their internships as beneficial as I have. Communication Studies is a hands-on major, and an internship in this field will give students a chance to put their knowledge to work.

Lacey Inman

Hollywood’s Oxygen

They are some of the most well-paid people in Hollywood. They’re welcome at the most exclusive parties and are constantly brushing elbows with the town’s biggest names. Leaving aside the numerous jokes to be made about Hollywood’s oxygen, I am referring to the agents that manage the town’s top talent. These agents provide a continuous stream of deals “in a town that needs deals like oxygen,” as the Financial Times characterized agents’ place in their story on the industry.

Mainly known for fetching their clients top-dollar contracts, agencies are being forced to expand their repertoire. In the past, garnering promising and proven talent may have been enough. Today, though, agents are finding themselves forced to find new ways to offer value, and they’re forced to do so in a changing environment. Studios are making less movies (last year saw a 20% drop), and becoming less willing to take risks on an incomplete picture. Agents are adding value by “packaging” movies – a term referring to attaching a director, star, and script.

Citing fewer movie productions and sharply declining DVD sales, Jeremy Zimmer, partner at the talent agency UTA, states, “Real agents aren’t bookers any more, they are job creators…we have to be creative.” Agencies are looking to other areas for additional revenue sources. Television has become increasingly important with agencies fighting to package pilot shows for big profits.

Others are looking not to create new content, but rather to bring existing content to a new audience. For example, Creative Artists Agency, the largest talent agency, which manages infamous curmudgeon Simon Cowell, worked on contracts to bring his hit UK show, The X Factor to the US.

Further still, agencies are vamping up their efforts on branding their clients. One agency helped singer Gwen Stefani create a clothing line, while CAA snagged a marketing deal with the New York Yankees’ new stadium. In contrast to the growing concern over the use of sports endorsers, CAA has made a strategic decision to pursue some of the world’s top sports talent. The bottom line is a valuable lesson for any industry: when opportunities seem scarce, adapt by creating your own.

And as for who really came out on top at the Oscars? CAA lead the pack with 9 awards (out of a dominant 28 nominations)

For more info on agencies’ Oscar nominations and awards, go here: OSCARS! Which agencies were the big winners?
Read last month’s Financial Times story on the agency industry here: Hollywood’s golden talent agents

Terry Hayes

Sprite commercial goes global

Hip-Hop artist Drake stars in Sprite’s new campaign launch “Spark,” the company’s new updated logo.  This campaign is aimed at encouraging teens to express their creativity through music and film.  Spark is Sprite’s first ever global marketing campaign.

The commercial is titled “Unleashed” and features the rapper in a recording studio with no inspiration.  As soon as he drinks the Sprite and his body begins to transform as the Sprite flows through his body.  As a result of the soda he is able to find inspiration and spits a famous ling line from his song “Forever”, “Last name ever/First name greatest.”

Drake has yet to release his debut album so the worldwide publicity will hopefully be great for his career.  “We looked at a lot of artists for this campaign,” says Joe Tripodi, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer of the Coca-Cola Company. “It began with the core creative idea that Sprite is the spark of fresh thinking when you combine our brand of individuality and creativity with the sudden refreshment of lemon lime that comes together for the spark. As we filtered through, we realized we wanted someone with a breadth of interest across the globe — a new, fresh, young talent.”

The “Spark” campaign is an integrated marketing tool that will allow people an outlet to record their own 45-second animated films.  “Unleashed” currently airs in four markets, United States, Philippines, Turkey, and South Africa.

-Danielle Murray

Celebrity Blog Hall of Fame

You friend, then you stalk.  You follow, they tweet and then you re-tweet their tweets.

They blog.

And surprisingly there are a number of blogs written by celebrities that are actually worth reading.  Alec Baldwin’s blog, hosted by The Huffington Post gives excellent insight into his life, his feelings, his views on current events, etc,.  It is very intriguing sometimes to see the “real” side of a famous person’s life.   The term “real” meaning: at least the online presence of the blog is sincere.

So, with this in mind I would like to introduce Forbes Top Five Best Celebrity Blogs.

#1—Wil Wheaton


#3—William Gibson

#4—Barbra Streisand

#5—Dave Barry

These may not be the mainstream celebrities that most would follow on Twitter or friend on Facebook; however, their blogs are intriguing, funny and make for a great read.


Laura Ann Klinedinst

American Idol Contestants Delete Social Media Accounts

Without any sort of explanation, American Idol has banned their 24 finalists from using social media (Mashable).  Finalists are no longer able to have their own personal Twitter, Facebook, or Myspace accounts.  Instead, they have consolidated their sites into one AI9Contestants username across all social networking.

Recently, each of the 24 finalists sent out a message to their followers saying “Thanks so much for following me!  All my updates from now on will be on our Official AI9 Twitter page, please follow me there @AI9Contestants.”  The same sort of message was sent out across the other social networking sites.

Speculation from The Wall Street Journal and USA Today say AI motives were to create more equality with the voting process.  Finalists’ use of social media sites may reveal early favorites, expose secretes and or influence America’s voting.

Social media outlets could be used by finalists to increase popularity with fans and thus increase their votes to win the competition which may not be fair.  However, this shift may actually hinder contestants from developing a connection with their fan base which AI’s popularity relies on .It seems this change by American Idol is focusing on the fairness of the competition without embracing the positive influence social media has on the business side of the industry.

Even though Idol’s efforts are designed to maintain the equality and secrecy of the show’s outcome, they cannot stop society’s use of social media to discuss the contestants and opinions of the show.

-Taylor Diehl

The World of Twitter Welcomes Conan

Not even a former evening talk show host can resist the glowing temptation of twitter.  After a recent controversy surrounding talk show hosts Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno, which resulted in the expulsion of O’Brien from appearing on the air, he decided to retain viewers elsewhere. On February 24, 2010, @ConanOBrien posted his first tweet stating: “Today I interviewed a squirrel in my backyard and then threw to commercial. Somebody help me.” Within a half hour of his first tweet, he had up to 15,000 followers.

 Upon deciding what to do with his new source of popularity, O’Brien announced that he would be following one new person every week. He would essentially be retweeting and commenting on the chosen followers’ posts. His first choice was 19 year bride-to-be, Sarah Killen, who he was drawn to because of her love for peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. After being followed by O’Brien for one week, Killen’s life was flipped upside down. She gained 20,000 followers and is having her dream wedding planned for free, not to mention her all expenses paid honeymoon.  And how will the couple repay him? By asking him to be best man in the wedding, of course!

As Conan continues to utilize social media as a tool to withhold his popularity and maintain support, he is also continuing to use social capital by building community strength. Sarah is just one individual who has received the benefits of marketing herself via twitter, however, thanks to O’Brien, she is using her new fame to help raise money for breast cancer awareness. So, until Conan is allowed back on the air, the only information he needs his followers to understand is this: “I had a show. Then I had a different show. Now I have a Twitter account.”

Stephanie Saulsbury