All student produced media at Black Hills State University have recently been converged into a single site, www.BHSUBuzz.com. The site includes the Jacket Journal, the student newspaper; KBHU-FM, the student radio station; and KBHU-TV, the student television station.

The converged approach for student media has been in the planning stage for nearly three years, as mass communications faculty members took a proactive look at the rapidly changing news media and decided to collaborate with this news site. The mass communication department also adapted new curriculum and is making plans for a virtual converged newsroom using Second Life according to Dr. Mary Caton-Rosser, professor of public relations at BHSU.

Caton-Rosser, who also serves as the advisor for the Jacket Journal and the Public Relations Student Society of America student organization, says the changes were made to ensure students gain experience with new technology and practices in the media field.

“The process of digital media convergence in the past few years – fueled by rapidly advancing communication technologies - has revolutionized how people access and read news and information. Interaction has also become part of the news-making process via use of social media,” Caton-Rosser says.
“The converged website – BHSUbuzz.com - reflects our ability to keep up with the current trends in the field of mass media, benefiting students and readers with the most up-to-date formats of news and information delivery.”

She notes that experience working with the converged site will better prepare students for the rapidly changing media occupations.

“The ability to present news and information in online format professionally on a 24/7 schedule is of utmost importance in today’s e-communication landscape,” Caton-Rosser says.

Brian Gebhart, a senior mass communication major from Elkton who is serving as the assistant online editor for BHSUBuzz, says the convergence site has been a learning process that he expects will prepare him for his future.

“Media convergence is the direction the field is moving,” Gebhart says. “I think the site is useful, not only for mass communication students to develop skills to help market themselves in the future, but also to highlight students, organizations and happenings from every area on campus.”

Erin Burke, a junior mass communication major from Sturgis who is copy editor for the Jacket Journal and BHSUBuzz, says that although she was initially hesitant about the shift to a converged news site she now sees the benefit for students and the entire campus.

“I feel it's a great opportunity for our college campus to take a positive step in becoming more technologically advanced in the mass communication field,” Burke says.