By Janessa Hageman
With a rapidly changing and global market of information, it is getting easier to connect with others every day – even if they are across the world. Suming Yuan was trying to prove this when she created a video about the University of Iowa’s journalism program.
Released Dec.1, 2011, Yuan’s five-minute video was posted on the School of Journalism and Mass Communication’s website to target students in China who are interested in journalism and media-related fields. Yuan, a second-year SJMC master’s student, produced the video with collaboration from Robert Burns, instructional service manager and Angela Looney, instructional service specialist.
The video highlights the SJMC by showcasing its Hall of Fame and includes several interviews and clips to show potential students the benefits the school has to offer.
Yuan said she wanted to show Chinese students all aspects of the school, as well as the school’s excitement about hosting international students. Yuan said in the video, “Many of the teachers in the school love China.”
Yuan also wanted the students to know the differences between the journalism program at UI and those in China. SJMC Director David Perlmutter and Yuan both commented on how the UI journalism program at Iowa is very hands-on.
Yuan said the program is “more practical (at Iowa), you are a student and you are a journalist.” She added that this is something that makes the journalism and strategic communication programs at the school stand out among others and especially from China where classes tend to be more conceptual.
Perlmutter and Yuan brainstormed the idea for the video last spring, and then the school hired Yuan for the project. The video turned into a semester-long project where Yuan shot most of the video herself, as well as completed the video editing.
Yuan said there were difficulties with making the video. This was the first time she had ever shot and created a video in high definition. She said there were some differences between her past experience with shooting video and the HD camera but the biggest obstacle was reshooting. When starting the filming process, several shots were not in HD, such as the beginning scene, making the video a longer process than expected, said Yuan. "It was a great learning experience for both of us," commented Perlmutter. "But I had faith in Suming's talent and ingenuity—and our great staff who helped her."
Another problem Yuan faced, she said, is that YouTube is not viewable in China. In response she posted the video on a parallel China site that is similar to YouTube. It is available via the SJMC website in a "China" and non-China version.
Another challenge for the project is getting in contact not only with potential students but also their parents who are key influencers on their children’s education.
Yuan said the plan is to increase the number of Chinese journalism and strategic communication students as well as to increase the number of UI students traveling to China. Perlmutter said he hopes to set up study abroad sessions and internship partnerships with connections in China.
Yuan anticipates completing her master’s in journalism in May. After that she is uncertain about what she would like to do. She currently is not too specific on what she wants to do because she said it will limit her opportunities.
“You never know what you can do with your potential,” said Yuan.
Perlmutter added, "The video is getting great praise across campus—Suming is a star! We think she will be one back in China as well."