Marcil Center for Innovative Journalism

By Trent Zbichorski

Scholarships and internships are a great way to reduce college debt and gain real-world experience. The William C. Marcil, Sr. and Jane B. Marcil Center for Innovative Journalism (Marcil Center) offers both job opportunities and paid apprenticeships to prepare students for the ever-changing world of media.

The Marcil Center was established after William C. Marcil, Sr. and Jane B. Marcil gave $1 million to the Mass Communications Department in fall 2013. The gift was given in collaboration with the Forum Communications Company, a multimedia news company with locations across North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Each year, up to 20 students receive the $1000 Marcil scholarship, which is renewable up to four years depending on grade point average and staying in the major.

“It not only allowed me to focus on school more, but inspired, encouraged, and motivated me to work my very hardest during my time as a student,” said senior Ariana Babcock. “Receiving the Marcil Center scholarship was simply the best blessing I could have ever asked for.”

To qualify for the scholarship, students must be majors in the School of Communication and Journalism, Paseka School of Business or Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, and be interested in a vocation in the media industry. First-year students and transfer students are eligible to apply.

The second floor of Flora Frick Hall is designated as the Marcil Center, where students look for internships and job openings. This semester, students are learning about digital content by working alongside experienced Forum Communications employees for 4-5 hours per week.

“We want to engage with people who want to be writers” said Merrie Holtan, director of the Marcil Center for Innovative Journalism. “Forum Communications wants college students to feel good, even if you aren’t in the major because there are so many things you can do, such as developing apps and programs.”

In the paid apprenticeships, students shadow professionals and rotate among several media departments, including video, content marketing, news service, and Areavoices blogging platform.

“It’s a great way for the students to gain experience,” Holtan said. “Forum Communications wants to build a relationship with the students and they should take advantage of that.”

Students can also gain experience from the various clubs located within the Marcil Center, such as The Advocate, ad agency, Communicators in Action, Dragon Radio, and Campus News.

The Marcil Center and Forum Communications will co-sponsor a summer multimedia journalism camp for high school students June 27-30, 2015. Students will learn about community storytelling from professionals and educators in multi-media journalism, tour newsrooms and television studios, generate story ideas and create print, television, web-driven and community promotional stories, plus much more.

“It will be a great way for high school students to learn media analytics inside the classroom, while having some fun with it,” Holtan said.

Holtan would like to organize a short trip where students can travel to London to gain experience in a different part of the world.

“You would be surprised how big media is in other places and I think it would really open students’ eyes.”