The technological needs of the Department of Journalism were not pressingÂ Dr. Charles Marler, who began working there in 1974.
“As of the late 70s all you needed to have to go into print was a typewriter,” Marler said. “Nowadays you have to have the tools.”
When Marler, professor emeritus of journalism and mass communication and senior faculty member, became chair of the department in 1987, he struggled to keep the journalism program in step with emerging technology.
“One of my biggest problems every year was not having enough money beyond budget and fees for upgrading technology,” Marler said.
Although he is no longer chair of the department, Marler is still working to help ACU journalism students equipped with the learning tools they need to be prepared for the modern world of convergence journalism.
The Charlie and Peggy Marler Endowment was approved a few years ago in honor of Marler’s contributions to the university, said Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. Marler chose for the endowment to go towards funding the purchase or repair of the JMC department’s hardware and software outside of the university budget.
The university has budgeted that the JMC department be resupplied with hardware and software every four years, Marler said. If a computer or camera dies in year three of that cycle, the Marler Endowment can be a fall-back supply for the department to use.
Although the endowment has been established for a few years, the JMC department has only begun to promote it within the last year, Bacon said. The department has also begun raising money for the JMC HD project, a $500,000 initiative to convert the JMC studio camera’s and televisions to high definition.
Now is an ideal time for the department to make this update, Bacon said. Broadcast and cable TV, as well as many internet sites, have moved to HD, and the price of HD products has also dropped drastically in the past year or two. The JMC department was urged by a visiting committee comprising valued advisors of the department to make this upgrade, Bacon said.
A studio enhanced with HD equipment would benefit all students in the JMC department, Bacon said. Whether a student is studying convergence or broadcast journalism, public relations or multimedia, he or she will benefit from having experience in the most up-to-date equipment and software. Preparation for today’s world of mass communication is the goal of the JMC department, she said.
We’re committed to a convergence media education,” Bacon said “We know that to be able to keep up with our competition we need to make the appropriate upgrades.”
Bacon said the JMC HD project does not have a target date set for completion, but the JMC department is having productive conversations with potential donors.