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NESCom's New Degree Program

New Degree Program at NESCom
Nikky Raney

New England School of Communications added a new degree program as of the Fall 2011 semester, and although it is quite new it already has ten students enrolled. The degree program is a Bachelors Degree in Entertainment Production; this means all the behind the scenes set ups that go on during cruises, on broadway, etc.

Ken Stacks has been with NESCom for over 20 years and helped pioneer this degree program. He says, "We decided to do first a concentration in theater/entertainment production then our accreditors said, 'Wow this is bigger than just a concentration, you need your own degree program."

Students who already were in the concentration did not have a hard time switching to the new major.

"Half of the courses were already in place, because they served a need for some of the other concentrations. And now we have about another ten courses up and running. Now we can get into technical direction and get much deeper into what the skill sets are for the entertainment industry," Stacks explains.

The Gracie Theater is the location of many classes and it is the perfect place for the students to get the experience that they need. Brave Williams gives much of the instruction to the students.

"It really dovetails well with what NESCom already does, so it really fills a need especially in the Gracie," tells Williams.

One of the ten students enrolled in this degree program is Clif Rogers, this is his third year at NESCom. Prior to being an Entertainment Production student he was in the Audio Program.

Rogers joined the Entertainment Production program since he was already doing some work in that field and truly enjoys theater as well as the technical side of it, and he wanted to expand his knowledge in that field.

"I have been able to get more time on a lighting board as well as learning a bunch of different construction skills." Rogers continues, "I have been gaining time in a theater space that I expect to be able to use while in a bunch of different venues."

This new degree program has so many job opportunities tied into it that it is sure to get the attention of potential students.

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Case Study: Arab American Festival

Dearborn, Michigan has held the Arab American Festival for the past 16-years. The festival is hosted by the Arab American Council, and the media coverage that it receives is mostly focused on the Christian protestors who attend the event and get arrested.
The most recent Arab American festival got a lot of media coverage, because Florida Pastor Terry Jones made it known that he would be protesting this event. Jones has been nicknamed the "Koran burning" pastor and when the media was informed that he was planning on attending the Arab American Festival of 2011 in Dearborn, Michigan lots of headlines were made including Dearborn's Michigan Messenger with, "Dearborn Arab Festival turns confrontational," and an ABC Channel 7 WXYZ.com headline that read, " Quaran-burning pastor plans another visit to Dearborn during Arab American festival." Much more of a fuss was made over the protestors of the festival rather than lots of media footage of the actual festival itself. There was much more of an impact and media coverage of all the protesting involved rather than what Arab Americans were actually doing at this festival. There were even some Christians who were reportedly calling Dearborn "Dearbornistan," according to he publications aforementioned.
The only story that the Detroit Free Press had about the Arab American Festival of 2011 was, "Pastor Terry Jones Thwarted in Dearborn," which is more of an article focused on this white man rather than the events or Arab Americans that attended the festival, but the article does make it a point to show that Christians that are being disrespectful at this festival are not getting away with it. There was even an interview with a 14-year-old boy:
"Jones said Friday, as he has said repeatedly before, that Muslims have to prove their loyalty to the U.S. because their religion makes them suspect.
That outraged Dearborn resident Mohamed Al-Hachami, 14, who said Jones has no right to question them.
"I love America," Al-Hachami said. "I've never even been to the Arab world my entire life." "
Dearborn News Online has media coverage from 2009's Arab American Festival with the headline, "Christian Group Sues City Over Arab American Festival Access." The article directly from Detroit News is unavailable without a paid subscription, but the aforementioned article includes excerpts saying that there were groups attempting to covert Muslims to Christianity and now they were suing Dearborn "claiming the city is violating its free speech and religious rights by limiting its access to patrons" at the 14th annual Arab International Festival.
I went to CNN.com to try and search terms to see if they had any coverage, but nothing came up - the same goes for FOX and MSNBC. So, the major mainstream news networks did not do any coverage about the Arab American Festivals (that I was able to find with my extensive research). Most of the "publications" that were servicing the information were blog sites that may not have been completely credible along with Arab American web sites that were just promoting the event. The "news" was really limited to the few local news sources and lots of blog coverage.
As a media representative I believe that these festivals should be covered in the mainstream media, because maybe if people find out what is really going on at these festivals from the Arab Americans that are in attendance then Americans would not be so ignorant and would be more educated and less disrespectful. Of course there will always be the protestors, but the protestors should not be what the media focuses on - there should be some real coverage from the Arab American festival to get a look at what is actually going on and to see how they celebrate.

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