Communications Research Colloquium Series

On Thursday September 20th I had the opportunity to attend the first Communications Research Colloquium Series for this year in Nichols Hall. This Colloquium series is a way for professionals at K-State in the communications field to let others know about what they are doing outside of the classroom. I have never attended something like this before, but saw it as a great opportunity to get to know what other people at our University are doing in an effort to broaden their knowledge of communications through research. It turned out to be very interesting and I am very glad I attended this event.

                The first presentation was given by Dr. Samuel Mwangi and Dr. Steve Smethers. Their presentation, “If you build it, will they come? A Study of Community Reactions to an Open Source Media Project in Greensburg, Kansas” Sparked a particular interest in me because it had to do with a tragic event that I remember quite well. After the tornado in Greensburg, Kansas, there was almost no way to communicate within the community. In an attempt to better communication, there were satellite trucks that would drive around to transmit a signal and help communicate, similar to the ones used here at K-State. The community then built a central community electronic media system that members would contribute to. The center was launched in November 2011 but is not yet fully functional. Within this media system there was a museum, library and communications center. The main people who ended up using the community center, and mainly the citizen journalism, turned out to be high school students. This wasn’t because of a lack of interest from other members of the community, but more because of the fact that most of the older members did not know how to use the technology. A recent survey done showed that although most members of the community supported the communications center, they do not want to have to personally pay taxes to keep it running since it was not necessarily their idea as a community to put it together. Overall this is a great idea to help out communications in case of another tragic event, but it has not yet been fully embraced by the community as a necessity. The main thing to keep in mind is that it has only been a year since the community center was launched. Also with a few training sessions on how to use the technology it may be more widely accepted. 


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