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Feb 22, 2014 02:26 AM EST

WVU Renames Journalism School Considering Changing Media and Academic Offerings

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West Virginia University has changed the name of its 75-year-old journalism school, Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism to the Reed College of Media, considering the changing media environment and the diversity of its academic programs (advertising, public relations and integrated marketing communications). The name change will take effect July 1.

Dean Maryanne Reed said that apart from proficiency in writing, reporting and content production, today's journalism graduates need to connect with audiences across traditional and emerging media platforms. The aim of the school is to prepare students for careers in modern media communications.

"What we felt like was that everything -- all of our disciplines that we teach -- intersect with media. Either on the news side or the communications side, we wouldn't exist without media, and media will always be here," Maryanne Reed, the school's dean, said, the Charleston Gazette reports.

The Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism was established 1979 by Perley Isaac Reed, a professor.

After interacting with the campus community, the school felt that the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, appeared limited, outdated and wasn't echoing the sentiments of future students.

Reed said that P.I. Reed alumni might be unhappy with the name change, especially with the removal of the word 'journalism.'

"But we think that what we're doing is creating a larger umbrella. We're not eliminating journalism; it's the foundation of what we do. We just needed to be more inclusive, and this allows room for future growth and new majors," Reed said.

The journalism school has recently introduced an array of new courses including strategic communications major; programs on blogging, interactive journalism and content curation. They also offer minor programs like strategic social media and interactive media design.

The university also introduced the nation's first online master's degree program in Integrated Marketing Communications.

The school is also planning to open a 10,000-square-foot Media Innovation Center 2015, which will focus on "innovative curricula, applied research and project development in emerging media applications." A new Innovator-in-Residence program will be launched to attract media professionals to develop pioneering projects and integrate innovative curricula on campus.

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