Communication Studies

Department Spotlight

Whitworth Students, Communication Professor, and Alumni Office Collaborate to Create Online Magazine

Many recent college graduates experience a sense of shock -- due to factors such as loss of community, searching for employment, and managing finances -- when they first strike out on their own. To help make the post-graduation transition smoother for Whitworth students, the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations and Associate Professor of Communication Studies Ginny Whitehouse's Jan Term article- and feature-writing class launched an online magazine called The Phase in January 2004. The Phase addresses issues that most concern recent Whitworth graduates and current Whitworth seniors.

"The four departments of The Phase get to the heart of what Whitworth alumni identify as the areas that were the most difficult during their own transitions from college to life after college," says Tad Wisenor, director of alumni and parent relations. "The site will serve as a resource, a confirmation that alumni are not alone as they experience significant transitions in life, and a connecting point for service from Whitworth. I'm proud of the work that these students put into this project, and the fact that they interviewed about 50 different Whitworth alumni for these stories indicates what a great resource our alumni can be."

Whitworth's website links to The Phase from the alumni webpage and from various other pages.

Ryan Moede, a senior communication-studies major, supervised layout and design for the magazine. Aimee Goodwin, a senior journalism/mass-communication major who also serves as copy editor of The Whitworthian, the college's student newspaper, is the magazine's editor. Whitehouse served as faculty advisor on the project.

"What I wanted to do was create a magazine for my students that provided some sort of service," Whitehouse says. "The logical option expense-wise was to create a resource online."

Students in Whitehouse's Jan Term article- and feature-writing class conducted research and wrote stories for the magazine about issues pertaining to current seniors and Whitworth alumni who have graduated in the past three years.

The class operated much the same way as a professional publication, complete with a newsroom and daily deadlines. Students spent each morning during Jan Term conducting research for stories and each afternoon writing the stories.

Story topics include debt management, philanthropy, graduate school, income taxes, marriage, family, balancing work and family, and identity theft.

"Our goal is for Whitworth journalism and English students to have published clips and a project they care about and are involved in that also provides useful information for the broader community," Whitehouse says.

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