This Q&A by SMC student Lauren Ruhnke, a communication studies major, is one in a series of interviews with the School of Media and Communication’s top scholars. SMC Aspiring Scholars are students recognized for their scholastic achievement through university-wide or SMC admissions scholarships, majors of distinction or membership in Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association Honor Society, or Kappa Tau Alpha, a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.
Lauren Brown is a junior journalism major from Lancaster, Pa. A transfer student from Penn State Berks, Brown has embraced the city culture with open arms, furthering her already impressive academic career, as she was a dean’s list scholar both her freshman and sophomore years at her previous institution. She has an academic interest in newspaper and online journalism, and is involved with the local music community through her current internship at Rock On Philly.
LR: Why did you choose the School of Media and Communication?
LB: Given the modern emergence of social media, I think it is important, now more than ever, to make sure that the message you are trying to send to the audience is not lost or misinterpreted. It’s important to have reliable journalism and for the field to continue to progress and develop—and I want to be a part of that.
LR: What do you hope to do with your SMC Studies?
LB: I want to be involved with music journalism, and I currently have an internship with Rock On Philly, a website dedicated to the Philly music scene. I really think efforts like these are important to help localize culture—people feel more connected to something that’s happening in their backyard. I have a passion for music, and working in this field has been a great way for me to combine it with my writing interest.
LR: What are you passionate about?
LB: I believe it is very important for people to be media literate—I hope to pioneer some form of media literacy education, because I think it’s not only important for people to be informed, but to be able to dissect and process the abundance of information they receive. With the current increase of technological development, there are so many more outlets you can turn to for information, each with their individual bias and opinion—this means media literacy is all the more important, as audiences need to be able to tell the difference between personal ideas and factual news.
LR: What resources have you found most useful here at Temple?
LB: I find it incredible that my teachers are working journalists now, so they have the hands-on experience I am looking for. I get to learn from professors that have worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and really know the industry. I think it’s valuable to have access to these people—they have words of wisdom to pass on.
LR: What is the best piece of advice you have received either at Temple or elsewhere?
LB: One of my professors, George Miller, always talks about the power of a journalist. They have the power to make a difference, and it is up to them to use the power responsibly and make changes for the better.
LR: If you could change one aspect of media today what would it be? Why?
LB: Modern day media has begun to analyze content for its viewers instead of just informing them. People are told what to think before they are given the chance to process the information—this is why media literacy is so important.
LR: What does communication mean to you?
LB: It means connecting, and it’s more than just relaying messages; it’s bringing people together in whatever way you can.