Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New JIMC introduction


The Stakeholder Curriculum of the Future Clarke L. Caywood, Ph.D. Professor and Publisher of the Journal of Integrated Marketing Communications, http://jimc.medill.northwestern.edu/JIMCWebsite/site.htm

Most of the business leaders we meet are initially curious about why the faculty and students researching, teaching and working in the field of integrated marketing communications (IMC) are in the Medill School of Journalism and not in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. The explanation is not complicated, but the question has become more common as the IMC students increasingly have been seen as business leaders with stronger financial, marketing and management knowledge and skills.

With over 115,000 people earning the MBA degree each year, the 80 plus experienced graduate students in IMC at Northwestern can be seen as even more valuable specialists with many of the same team, leadership and experience qualities. However, like any “product” in a competitive world the IMC students must possess skills and knowledge that will allow them to remove some burden from their manager or team and have knowledge and skills that their managers and other team members in their firm or agency do not know. In other words, bring something new and useful to the workplace. The competitive advantage of communications, IMC and journalism students is that they have the strongest possible knowledge and insight to the hundreds of categories of publics, audiences and stakeholders beyond the customer.

The history of the teaching of marketing communications, still called advertising and public relations, being taught in the Journalism and Communication Schools is not particularly remarkable. When the schools of journalism (Medill, Missouri, Wisconsin) were created in the very early part of the last century there was demand for educated and well trained men and women to work for newspapers. Before that time the work was not considered a role of higher education. The work included both working as reporters and editors as well as advertising specialists who filled the paper with as much advertising as they could sell and then leaving a “news hole” to fill with news content. At the same time, public relations specialists began to emerge as advisors to business leaders on how to work with the empowered media

To lead rather than follow industry and to offer newer knowledge and skills, during 2007 the Medill School of Journalism is seriously reevaluating its role in modern journalism and media. Under the direction of John Lavine as the Dean of the School (a former publisher and industry executive), the faculty and students are seeing substantial changes in the journalism curriculum. The IMC faculty have again rewritten our curriculum in the spirit of the changes in the market and academic and industry research in advertising, public relations, direct marketing, database marketing, e-commerce, communications, management and marketing.

Our most recent changes include a new core required course being developed by this writer for the class of 2008 students. The course will more fully develop the idea of “social media” as a more modern means to communicate and manage relationships with hundreds of stakeholders that impact a corporation and its employees. We have looked, of course, at the CEO use of blogs, customer blogs, pod and vodcasts. We have tested SecondLife.com as a three dimensional website for avatars (3-D representations of you) to meet and plan, learn and be trained (see Gronstedtgroup.com). We added content to You Tube, Face Book, BlogSpot, dostang, naymz, eon, Flickr and others for building an open source textbook on marketing and marketing communications. Naturally we will be looking at more traditional means to communicate with stakeholders as well. To add value to the process will be using the most advanced computerized media, expert, trend and web tracking systems available to industry. Description and predictive systems such as Biz360 and Evolve24 used by the very top firms in the world will be tested by our graduate students. As Senior Vice President of Grainger Corporation and Senior Lecturer in Investor Relations in our Department for 14 years, Nancy Hobor, noted, “CEOs are looking for leaders who can understand and integrate the corporate stakeholders, not just customer and not just business functions.” (See Caywood in Kellogg on Advertising and Media, Calder, ed. Forthcoming).

The traditions of newsgathering and the requirements of more sophisticated management, marketing and communications are merging in this new curriculum at Medill. In part, the evidence will be in the likely renaming of the School to reflect the requirement that our school graduates, destined for the media and journalism world, will share and integrate some common values with our new undergraduate and graduate students in the IMC program. They both focus on newer technologies that deliver and drive the transfer of information. Even more important, from the value system of ethical public relations, advertising and marketing, we will be able to deliver valuable content to our most relevant; important; and socially, economically and politically crucial stakeholders.

The next generation of Medill graduates be able to identify the widest range of important stakeholders and be able to use the best of the traditional and newer media to reach them. They also will be educated and trained to use the most sophisticated statistical, analytical and insightful software to understand the customer, the media, experts, government and other stakeholders with artificial intelligence..

Over the past 16 years, this Journal has focused on a wide range of stakeholders and their impact on business and society. With the support of the new curriculum, the new connections to our colleagues and students in journalism and media, we expect to strengthen our new offerings of knowledge and skills to the market. You can hire a Medill student to do the core work of your organization but you can also count on them to bring something fresh and intelligent to help your organization achieve its goals.

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