New Media Arts And Mass Media Programs To Be Offered At Northeast Community College


Northeast Community College Media Arts faculty pose for a photo inside the recording studio control at the College. Northeast will offer the new Media Arts program, which includes Audio Recording Technology, Broadcasting, and the new concentration, Digital Cinema Media, beginning this fall. Pictured (from left) are Timothy Miller, audio recording technology instructor, Brian Anderson, broadcasting instructor, Anthony Beardslee, audio recording technology instructor, and Nancy Sutton-Smith, mass media instructor. (Courtesy Photo)

NORFOLK – Audio Recording and Broadcasting have been long standing programs on the Norfolk campus of Northeast Community College for over 30-years. They operated in separate buildings with their own focus for most of that time until they were merged in the 2007-08 academic year. However, additional changes will be coming starting this fall to address industry demands.

“The new Media Arts Associate of Applied Science degree will have three concentrations. In addition to Audio Recording Technology and Broadcasting-Radio/Television, Northeast will begin a new concentration called Digital Cinema Media,” said John Blaylock, vice president of educational services. “This new concentration is designed to help students gain expertise in production-level videography so they can develop their own videos, be employed by a video production or broadcasting company or work in the public relations field and market video production for a business.”

“The production industry – audio production, video production, graphics, or web media – has seen a great convergence over the past several years,” said Anthony Beardslee, Northeast audio recording instructor and interim associate dean of business and technology. “It is no longer enough to just be a specialist in one area.  The industry seems to demand more from production personnel,” he said.

“An audio engineer who also knows how to edit video or a broadcast engineer who could also produce a podcast, are much more valuable to a potential employer than someone who only has one skill.  While this was happening within the industry, we found that our programs were evolving in the same way.”

Beardslee cited an example in the college’s Audio Recording and Broadcasting programs which were both teaching separate video editing classes. “It didn’t make sense to be doing the same thing separately.  And, we were in a better position than ever to change things up since were under the same roof.  With all of that in mind, we merged Audio Recording and Broadcasting under one program umbrella and modified each program so that they both shared some common skills.”

Beardslee said not long after the programs were merged, they realized that a third concentration could be developed which combined all of the two program’s skill areas and produce a graduate that could meet the diverse needs of the media production industry. “After many years of tossing around ideas, we have finally succeeded.”

The specialization in Digital Cinema will encompass the major stages of creating film and video projects: development, pre-production, production and post-production.  Students will learn how to research and write scripts for video, television and film, bring those scripts to life with expert field production, lighting and sound recording, and create a finished product in the video editing room.    

New classes include Film and Videography where students learn to light a movie set and explore the skills necessary to be a highly skilled cinematographer. Script Writing and Analysis will encompass writing for movies and television as well as long form documentary writing and commercial scripts. Graphics for Media and the four semesters of post-production classes offer video and editing instruction ending with industry certification, along with instruction in media graphics, 3D motion graphics and color correcting. The Digital Cinema Media specialization will allow a student to seek employment as a cinematographer, producer, filmmaker, documentary producer, television video editor, motion graphics designer, or commercial post production editor.

Post Production and Script Writing and Analysis Instructor Nancy Sutton-Smith said with the advent of video on everyone’s website, a digital cinema degree from Northeast will give students a wide avenue of job choices. “From editing the video for your friend’s wedding, to making money with a You Tube channel, video and audio production has become a must-have skill for this new internet generation. Digital Cinema graduates will find employment not just in the film and television industry, but with companies creating in-house videos, advertising agencies, local television creative services departments, website design firms and large businesses with in-house media departments. There couldn’t be a better time to offer an AAS in Digital Cinema.”

The four instructors in the Media Arts program bring a wide range of experience to Northeast Community College.

Beardslee graduated from the Northeast Audio Recording Technology program in 1992 and has been an audio recording instructor since 1998.  He has become a certified Pro Tools instructor which will allow audio recording students to gain this industry-recognized certification.  Beardslee also has a Bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University in Business Information Systems.  Prior to joining Northeast as a faculty member, Beardslee worked as an audio engineer in the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C. and also worked for Nebraska Educational Telecommunications.

Sutton-Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Stephens College in Columbia, MO, and a Master’s degree in Education from Capella University in Minneapolis. She began her broadcasting career as an anchor/reporter for KELO-TV in Sioux Falls, SD. Video editing became her passion and she worked at television stations and video production houses in Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Philadelphia. Sutton-Smith received six regional Emmy awards during her three decades in television, working as a line producer, executive producer, operations manager, news and long form video editor. Prior to her arrival at Northeast, she was the Media Arts teacher for the Sioux Falls School District, where she taught video and audio production, broadcasting, animation, and motion graphics.

Timothy Miller began the audio recording program at Northeast in 1983 and is now bringing his extensive experience in film and video production to the digital cinema and media program.  He studied at Kent State and Ohio State universities where he also managed their recording studios.  Miller has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State College in communication technology with a minor in music theory and composition.

Brian Anderson, previously an adjunct instructor for the broadcasting department, is now Northeast’s full-time broadcasting instructor. He graduated from Northeast’s broadcasting program in 1993 and then earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wayne State College in 1996.  Anderson brings with him more than two decades of industry experience in both radio and television production and management with US 92 and 94 Rock Radio in Norfolk, KRGI Radio in Grand Island, and KTIV-TV in Sioux City, IA.

Among the many accolades he received throughout his industry career are two Regional Emmy Awards, presented for exemplary news coverage of the Norfolk Protient Foods fire in 2009 and coverage of flooding in Northeast Nebraska in 2010.  Anderson continues to work in the broadcasting industry on a part-time basis, which helps to emphasize his industry-to-classroom approach.

“This is an area where we have wanted to make some changes for some time,” Blaylock said. “We have hired additional staff that fit the need for this particular program. The Media Arts specializations in digital cinema, broadcasting, and audio recording will work in tandem, providing everything a student needs to be a well-rounded media expert.”

Sutton-Smith will also play a role in another program transformation beginning this fall.

Blaylock said Northeast recognizes that a career in journalism must include multimedia technology in order for students to excel as writers, digital web producers and publishers. The traditional Northeast Journalism degree will be enhanced with video and audio production instruction, photo and graphic manipulation, and layout design for all forms of digital publishing.

The new Associate of Arts degree is called Mass Media. New classes will include writing for print and digital media which incorporates the basics of AP (Associated Press) Style news writing, writing techniques for digital multimedia and online publishing using Adobe InDesign and Photoshop.

Sutton-Smith said newspapers and any employer requiring a writer will need a new employee to be multimedia savvy as well as a good writer. “Newspaper editors say their new hires need to be able to record and edit video and audio, manipulate photographs, work with graphics and understand how multimedia fits into a news story for an online publication. The days of just knowing how to write as a reporter are gone. Our new Mass Media degree and our Applied Journalism classes will provide students with multiple platform skills in graphics, video and audio production and layout design in addition to AP Style writing expertise,” said Sutton-Smith.

For additional information on the new Media Arts and Mass Media programs, contact the Northeast Community College Admissions Office at (402) 844-7260, (800) 348-9033 or email at [email protected].