Tak kenal maka tak cinta. Jom Kenali Universiti Awam (UA) Malaysia.

Friday, June 20, 2008

What Is It Like Studying Mass Comm?

Written by Josette

What got me attracted to Mass Communications was the word ‘journalism’. Journalism. Take a moment and say it out loud. Then stop. Does it feel grand? Powerful? Influential? Nothing? Okay, okay, you’ll probably tell me to stop the crap but that’s the impact the word has on me. And no, I did not take up the course just because I love the way the word sounds.

Being a Mass Communications student, you need to speak up and voice your opinions. Well, as long as your opinions do not belittle or insult other people. But, just voice out whatever’s appropriate in your head. It makes you an interesting person and that will make other interesting people give their opinions too. Ah, that’s when the fun begins. If the opinions contradict one another, prepare to stand by your ideas and start debating. Heck, you can also challenge your lecturers! But remember to show them the respect that they deserve. They are, after all, older and wiser than you.

Anyway, there are 3 major courses in the Mass Communications program which I’m in. JournalismThey are Journalism, Public Relations, and Broadcasting. If you enjoy reading and writing, it’s journalism for you. If you like to be busy and manage big, important events, then go for Public Relations. And if you aspire to be like Bernard Chauly (director of Gol & Gincu, 2005) or wish to be seen more often on TV, sign up for broadcasting. However, if you take up Journalism, you can also swerve your way into the fields of Public Relations or Broadcasting.

But, the reason I’m writing this article is to relate my experience of studying in Mass Communications for a year. I’ve only one year experience so I can’t tell everything there is to know. I’ll only tell what I know!

Beware! You really need to read A LOT, A LOT! In my first semester, we had to take 2 Mass Comm papers: Introduction to Mass Communication and Introduction to Human Communication. Well, one textbook was required for each paper, so it was quite okay.

In my second semester, I had 3 Mass Comm papers: Communication and Society, Communication Theory and Research and Communication For Social Development. The second semester was a killer. For Communication and Society, we had to read 3 insanely thick books full of articles. For the Theory paper, there were 38 articles and lastly for Communication for Social Development, we had to read 25 articles and the professor even recommended more readings!

That’s a lot to read right? And it’s only for 3 papers. I haven’t included readings from my other non-Mass Comm courses.

SpeakerAnyway, once you are in university, you need to put aside your shyness because you will go in front of your classmates for presentations. Yup, dress your best and spray the scent of confidence all over yourself! It’s boring if you read your speech directly from a piece of paper. Your audience will lose interest and the professor might start yawning. So, it’s better if you learn to speak in public without actually ‘reading’.

Like what I mentioned earlier, it is advisable for you to speak up in class and ask questions. It is sad to see nobody raising their hands to bombard the lecturer with questions although they’ve kindly ask loads of times. Unfortunately, some or most students are just shy or timid or afraid that their English would not be so good and that they’d make a fool of themselves. Truth is, some professors love it when their students ask questions in class. At least they wouldn’t be the only one talking all the time!

Lastly, your grades. Usually it’s 30% for assignments and 70% would be your exams. You’ll be given around 7-8 weeks to complete your assignments and that’s a long time. If you know how to use your time wisely, you wouldn’t be rushing to write 8 - 10 pages the night before the due date. Unfortunately, many of us still do that now. It is totally NOT advisable!

All right, this has been a really long post. I’m off to my second year of Mass Communications soon! Perhaps I’ll report to you guys about my second year next year. Hope this post helps. =)
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  1. "as long as your opinions do not belittle or insult other people?"

    Dang, I was hoping that the course of journalism teach you how to do it and get away with it.
    After all, its a course that teaches students on how to influence how people people think in writing, yes?
    Couldn't you belittle them and convince them that you are god at the same time? (after all, from my point of view, its a legit opinion)

  2. 3point8: Well, there are various kinds of journalists, aren't there? And their style of writing definitely aren't the same. Some are bold enough to make their stand while some prefer to play by the rules.

    Um, no, I don't think journalism teaches such things...ha..ha! Hmm, yeah, people do get influenced by what they read in the newspapers, magazines, TV, etc but in the end, it's up to them themselves to make up their minds whether to believe what they read.

    Well, I'd like to see you try writing something to make me think you're God! Haha! Good luck!

    And yeah, interesting point of view.

  3. Josette,

    what do you think of the journalism in this country?

    i believe journalism should be reporting the truth impartially, but is that the scene in Malaysia?

    would love to here your opinion on this..

  4. teddy: You've got a good point there. Impartially. What do you think?

    Sure, we all want to know the truth. I want to know the truth. But then, the public can't always have what they want because they're not the ones in charge.

  5. can anybody describe what is mass communication-public relation..what is the level of job opportunities in Malaysia...what are the good and the bad of this course..is it ok if i pursue the course in public u and apply the job in Singapore...one more..is it a public u degree recognized in Singapore.....

  6. anonymous - Hi, well, in USM, public relations is under the Persuasive Communication major. In PR, you'll learn advertising, how to deal with the public, event management, campaign management, etc.

    Yeah, PR students are quite busy. But then, who aren't? I think there are many job opportunities for those who choose this field. So, no worries about that. As long as you're a hard worker and willing to learn.

    Sorry, I can't say much more about PR as I'm not majoring in it. But according to my friends who are in it, it seems that they have small assignments each week.

    Perhaps someone else who's done PR before can step up and explain more about what it's like.

  7. I am seriously glad that i get to know at least something about mass communication from a person who is studying this course as I am interested in this courseas well. However, I really have no idea to choose which college to go to for this course as it is already impossible for me to go to a public uni as I'm not eligible for it. Can someone please help me out by giving me some suggestions on which college is a good place that offers quality education in this course?

  8. hey Josette!
    Thank you so much fr writing tht article on Mass Comm.It's a field tht I'm really interested to go in to as well and ur article
    has really shed some light on it.However there are still some things that i would like to enquire and tho ur just a first year student it doesnt matter if ur replies aren't 100% accurate.I just roughly wanna knw and have an idea on how studying mass comm is like=)I also hope tht you're studying it in a local uni cos thts where I plan to study since money is nt on my side to study private=)
    here it goes:
    1)What are the subjects you took for STPM(or matriculation)?
    2)What are the kind of subjects,taken in STPM tht are allowed to apply for this is course and is there any tht gives an edge to the application?/More preferred?for example:Eng Literature
    3)What is the language used to teach this subject?
    4)What other local uni's besides USM offers this course?
    5)Is it a very competitive course to get in?Are there limited places each year?

    Well,I think I'll stop here,haha.I do hope I had nt given you a headache by asking so many questions.By the way,im in upper 6 nw and if you had taken Econs last time,could u lend me a hand in studying this subject?I dont knw why bt I can seem to understand the concepts and theorys esp in Microecons.

    Thank you and hv a great time in ur studies!

  9. gooqwer: Hey there, there are many colleges offering Mass Comm courses in Malaysia. KDU College, especially, has been advertising their Communication courses a lot. Taylor's College has a Mass Comm programme too. They are something like partners with USM, so I think what they learn there is about the same as USM's Mass Comm course. I'm not sure so we have to make a comparison.

    Besides those two colleges, you can also try to find out about UTAR and Help University College. They offer Mass Comm courses too. Good luck! :)

  10. Hi Melanie! Thanks for reading my post. :D Well, now I’m already a 2nd year student, so I’ll try to answer your Qs as best as possible!

    1) I was in the Science stream when I was in Form 6, so my subjects were Biology, Chemistry, Math, PA, and MUET.

    2) Students from both Science and Art streams can apply for Mass Comm, which is already under the Arts. Hmm, I’m not sure about any preferred courses but I think as long as your grades are good, then you’ll most probably get your first or second choice of course and university.

    3) Most of the Mass Comm papers are taught in BM. Only a handful are taught in English. However, the books and readings are in English, written by international and local scholars. It also depends on the lecturer. They usually teach in both languages. It’s like in school. If the teacher feels like speaking English now, he’ll speak it. Then, the next minute he’ll speak in BM. They’re very fun and flexible.

    4) So far, I know that only USM and UKM offer Mass Comm, because I applied for both unis. You’ll need to check out the list of courses offered by local unis when applying online.

    5) At the beginning of my first semester, there were around 160 of us! That’s the number I got on the list with all our names. The exact number, not sure because some came in later. But this year, it seems the total of Mass Comm students dropped by half.

    Ok, I hope my answers have helped you a bit. I'm sorry but I didn't take Econ! You'll need to seek help at the MS forum. :)

    Feel free to ask more if you want. Good luck in your studies!

  11. hey hey josette
    if i like to meet people..and be busy in an event and loves to travel?
    do you think I am good to go with Public Relation?Besides event management what other things PR normally do?

  12. Hi Andrew,

    Actually there are no limits in the field of communication. Whether you're in Journalism, PR or Broadcasting, one can still get the chance to meet lots of new, interesting people and travel. As for being busy with events, well yeah, PR's great!

    Do check out USM's Communication website and click on Undergraduate.

    You'll find more info regarding the 3 majors.

    PR people can go into advertising, copywriting, etc. Their job is to persuade people into buying stuff, ideas, concepts and so on.

  13. hey.
    love the article.btw i'm just wondering if it's worth it taking mass comm?cause i'm still a form 4 student actually but i'm kinda in confusion to choose dentistry or mass comm.i love writing poems and stuffs though.so any opinions?

  14. hey josette! i just read yr article and i wanted to know whether taylor's comm school is a good choice to do mass comm? & which do u think is the best coll/uni to do mass com in ? cos i am also considering doing mass comm in singapre, but wanna consider local colleges too.

    & u said tht mass com in usm is taught in bm, does tht mean tht the exam papers are in bm too?

    also, cld i knw which college/uni yr doing mass comm in ? and whether u think it's a good choice to do mass comm in?

    sorry for bombarding u with so many questions, thanks :)

  15. Napis: Hey there! Thanks for reading my article. :)

    Well, to answer your first question, you need to ask yourself first what you want to be later on. What do you love doing?

    You are only in Form 4 now so you still have time to make a decision. Mass Comm graduates usually become journalists or reporters, public relations executives, copywriters, press secretaries, travel writers, filmmakers and so on.

    So it depends on your interests and passion. Good luck!

  16. Hi Rekha,

    Yeah, I think Taylor's college would be a good place to get a Mass Comm diploma or degree. I don't know how it's like to study there, so you could try asking those who actually studied there.

    I'm also unable to state the best college/uni to study Mass Comm. You'll need to do some research, find out what each uni or college offers and decide what's best for you.

    Yes, most of my classes in USM are taught in BM except Desktop Publishing and Visual Communication (both are photography classes and taught in English). The notes provided are in BM as they are translated from the English text. But the lecturers sometimes use both BM and BI during lectures. It's up to the lecturers too on the use of language.

    Yes, exams are in BM too. But I think international students who don't have a good grasp of BM will answer in English. As for local students, answers in BM are preferable.

    I'm doing my BA in Comm in USM. For me, I think it's a great place to study and the library is well-equipped. I'm in my 3rd year of study now and I wish it's more than that. The lecturers are friendly and classes are interesting.

    We learn lots of stuff about the media - how it began, media research, democracy and political stuff and how the media is influenced, human communication, visual communication, news writing (for Journalism students), feature writing, cinema studies (for Broadcast students) and more.

    There are three majors: Journalism, Public Relations and Broadcasting. We can choose what we want to major in. We also take up a Minor, which can be anything. There's a list of minor courses to choose from.

    Alright, if there's anymore stuff to ask, bring it on. :) All the best to you!

  17. wow thank you for writing this article and being so kind to answer all of the questions above because those were the questions that I wanted to ask hehe.

    I have a few more questions to ask.
    Do they make you study maths?
    What is your preparation before your presentation?

    I'm a science stream student and I'm waiting for my SPM result next year. Most of my friend frowned upon my idea to study Mass Com next year as they think it is a very easy and popular course and this course is only suitable for those who like to play around? >:O I feel confused and dissapointed so i decided to google it and found your article! :D

    After reading your article I don't think that it is as easy as what they say ==" right? I've regained my confidence and I can't wait to show them about this.


  18. hello!
    well I stumbled upon your blog while Google-ing mass communications. I'm a form 4 student and just started, too. I chose to study English Literature and I really had no idea what I want to do when I grow up. but after reading your article, I started considering journalism. and my huge love of writing and reading could be bonus points for it. haha. well, I'm still keeping my options open. thanks for this article! (:

  19. hi there...
    thanks for the informative post!now i know how studying mass com is like for the 1st year.
    anyway,i hv a question.i've heard that mass com students are mostly very sociable and outgoing...coz need to voice out opinions and stuff.i absolutely like reading and writing as well as expressing opinions abt things,so was considering journalism as a study option aft f5.just left school...
    only thing is,i'm considered more quiet and only can express opinions with ppl in certain environments.is being outgoing and daring like,some sort of requirement or added plus to study and master this course?
    i'm just considering the options available rite now...not sure yet what 2 do
    tks again=)=)

  20. What u've said is true BUT it really depends on individual.. sometimes a person can't realise their own potential til they are meant to do it.. reading this can be a nightmare to those who hates reading.. Like me.. but as u go through the process, it is actually nothing.. Instead it is more fun than we expected.. .

  21. hai, i am really interested in event management. what can i study beside mass comm to enter this field?

  22. which college are best for mass.comm??

  23. I really like tis blog. Tis blog made my goals even clearer. Thanks! I was thinking whether to take mass com o hospitality. Guess nw, I hav made up my mind and I will pursue tis course in the future. I will put my best foot forward and leave all the negative thoughts behind. Faith is the word I need in myself. Thank You.

  24. am i eligible for highly-paid salary when im working ?
    i really need to know more bout the income given.

  25. i love this post! thanks a lot! :D I LOVE reading and writing.and i can be outgoing if i want to.well i am just wondering whether i am allowed to pursue journalism if i go for matriculation.like business,matriculation students are allowed to apply.so,how about mass comm?especially in usm.im interested in usm.:) by the way,i just finished my spm last year.

  26. hey Josette,

    After i have read your post (although i know it has been few years ago.) but i would like to know more about what mass comm actually is. Cause i'm studying foundation in creative multimedia now and i am wondering is this course suits me or not.

    Now i already foundation 3rd sem, so i need to make decision either to continue this course till i graduate or change course before i start my degree year.

    I wish to work in broadcasting station in my future like work in back stage not on air deejay that kind of work although i do try on air in my university now. So is that mean mass comm is more suitable instead of creative multimedia?

  27. Hi Josette,

    I love reading and writing as well as theatre and TV. With a lot of ideas flowing in my head, I feel that Mass Comm is a good platform for me to project my ideas.

    However, most adults have convinced me otherwise. They say that I should take a more serious course for now and go into mass communications later in life.

    If you say that there are many job opportunities in Mass Communications, why are people still doubtful?

    I completed my SPM last year and I'm receiving my results this Wednesday. I was in the science stream. I hope I'll get enough credits for Mass Comm. How many credits I need solely depends on which college I'm going to, correct?

    Your article really helped. If you have friends studying Mass Communications in other learning institutions such as Taylor's College, do you mind asking them what it is like?

    Also, how were you able to decide on which courses and minor courses you wanted to take? I'm still unsure of my options.

    Thank you!

  28. heyy i just am going to apply my job in HITZ.FM and it thought it is advisable to take mass comm in broadcasting so i just wanna what is it like and do they offer this course overseas example CHINA

  29. Hey Josette,

    I want To Ask You. What is The Advantages that i will Get If Studying In Mass Communications program which Broadcasting..


    you're article is great... it's been quite long u didnt reply.. but i still wanna clear my doubts... i'm this person who is s till confused about what to study... can you explain about broadcasting... the jobs wise ...

  31. I'm interested in mass comm and plan to major in public relations. which pre u is advisable? STPM, a-levels, SAM, foundation or diploma? I know its been quite awhile but I really do hope someone is kind enough to reply. thank you! :) xx

    1. The thing about pre-u courses is that any is fine really (in many cases). Do you intend to do your degree locally or overseas. If locally, public or private?

  32. Thanks a lot for the information!
    But what subejct is needed for Mass communication course ? Hope you can reply at my twitter :- @Zihahhhaha ! Thanks a lot again :>

  33. I'm so happy to read this post! I'm a Nigerian student and i've jst bin admitted into Nigerian Institute Of Journalism and this has really give me what to xpect in d skool......God bless you!

  34. i'm so happy & grateful or my problem has bein solve abort dis corse,bcoz i'm afraid before,but how can i be confidence to face poeple anytime anyday

  35. I am thinking to take Broadcasting in Utar, Degree programme. So what you all think about Utar? Is it good to study there? I wonder, if taking Broadcasting, will we still need to touch the journalism field?

    Hopefully can get a reply soon!

  36. Hi, I'm currently doing foundation now but I'm thinking of taking mass comm for degree. Can you brief to me a little about the course, whther or not it's a tough course than business? Thank you so muchh!


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