Digital Media Production


If you aspire to produce a TV program, rock the airwaves as a radio personality, or report breaking news for a major network, you'll need the skills, ethics, and drive to navigate an ever-evolving media landscape. At SAU, you get that education, and more. Gain the experience, connections and confidence to master your goals.

Our graduates work at CBS, Big Ten Network, Harpo Productions, KWQC-TV, NBC Olympics, and many other TV and radio outlets.


Ambrose Advantages

  • TV and Radio/Streaming Studio on Campus
  • Award-Winning Student Journalists
  • Get Involved On Day One
  • Professors Know Your Name

SAUtv set

3 students outside

two women at anchor desk

We take ethical and determined students and help them master the skills and state-of-the-art technology needed for a career in TV, radio or streaming media. Our faculty embolden creativity and give you freedom to push the status quo. You'll gain the confidence to tackle the wide world of digital media.

See Our Digital Media Production Fact Sheet (pdf)


SAUtv: Year in Review 2018-19

On Air and On Screen

With two radio and streaming outlets plus a TV station, the SAU Communication Department gives you plenty of experience – and sets you up for valuable internships – to get started on your broadcasting career.


More Information on the Digital Media Production Program

What will I learn?

You'll learn every stage of radio and television production: writing for Radio/TV, media ethics, news broadcasting, and audio production. In other courses, you'll learn about media management and communication law.

With this major, we layer your education. Each year of courses builds on the last. First-year students are encouraged to start with digital media production courses. Then, you'll get hands-on training in operating audio/video equipment and reporting broadcast news.

Larger universities envy St. Ambrose because our radio and television studios are equipped with the same technology used by on-air television and radio stations right now. We want you to learn by doing:

  • SAUtv is on-air 24/7 and offers programming on education and technology. Students produce a weekly newscast, operate cameras, edit video, broadcast live sporting events, and gain experience as on-air talent. Check out the SAUtv YouTube Channel.
  • KALA Radio broadcasts 24/7 on 88.5 and 106.1 FM, featuring everything from blues to gospel to urban to rock. We also have The Stinger, an online-only radio station featuring pop, alternative, and some new country music.

Our faculty push students to be creative, professional, and ethical. Students choose the shows, music, edit news specials, volunteer at community events, and broadcast live sporting events. And empowered, they soar. Each year SAU students are lauded for great reporting and producing by the Iowa Broadcast News Association, the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association, and the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. Read this story about some of our 2019 winners in broadcasting, and see a list of awards below.

2018 IBNA Awards

These are the awards SAU students won for broadcasts made in 2018.

Public Affairs

Large Market Radio
Second Place KALA: Don Schneider and Shelby Shepherd, "Veterans Coming Home: Stories of St. Ambrose Student Veterans"

Sports Coverage

Student Radio
Second Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Collin Leddy, Brad Burton; "Unsportsmanlike Conduct"
First Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Collin Leddy, Brad Burton; "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" Collin Leddy, Brad Burton

Sports Play-by-Play

Student Radio
First place: KALA St. Ambrose, Carter Foley; "Bees Football" Carter Foley

Excellence in Anchoring

Student TV
Second Place: SAUtv, Natalie Johnson

Best Newscast

Student Radio
First Place: KALA St. Ambrose; Holly Brock, Kristen Enright
Student TV
Honorable Mention: SAUtv ; "Dateline SAU" Adam Metzger, Josh Reid

Past Awards

The Communication Department at St. Ambrose has been winning awards for many years. Here is a sampling:

2017

Large Market Radio

First Place Public Affairs - Relevant or Irrelevant - Jay Swords, Rick Sweet, & David Baker (SAU/KALA Staff Member & Community Volunteers)
Honorable Mention Public Affairs - "Healing Harmonies: The Story of Charles Harper" - Johnna Kerres (SAU/KALA Staff Member)

Student Market Radio

First Place Sports Play-by-Play - Carter Foley (Sophomore - Davenport, Iowa)
First Place Best Newscast - "KALA This Week" - Luke Maiers ‘17 (Holy Cross, Iowa) & Storm Bogs ‘17 (Marion, Iowa)

Student Market Television

First Place Overall Excellence in Anchoring - Natalie Johnson (Sophomore - Monmouth, Ill.)
First Place Sports Play-by-Play - Carter Foley (Sophomore - Davenport, Iowa)
Second Place News Photography - "FCA" - Griffin Rasche (Senior - Clinton, Iowa)
Third Place In-Depth/Series - "Everett" - Griffin Rasche (Clinton, Iowa)
Third Place Feature - "A Night to Shine" - Griffin Rasche (Clinton, Iowa)
Third Place General Reporting - "Steve Tappa Fundraiser" - Abbey Nimrick (Johnsburg, Ill.)
Third Place Overall Excellence - "Year in Review" - Abbey Nimrick (Junior - Johnsburg, Ill.), Carter Foley (Sophomore - Davenport, Iowa) & Natalie Johnson (Sophomore - Monmouth, Ill.)
Honorable Mention Sports Coverage - "Micheal Ohoize" - Dustin Nolan (Senior - Bells, Texas)

2016

KALA - Large Market Radio
First Place - Public Affairs, "Ebony Expressions" - Shellie Moore Guy & David Baker

KALA - Student Market Radio
First Place - Political Coverage, "Election Night" - Amanda Bertolozzi, Storm Bogs, Luke Maiers, Christine La, & Shelby Scott
First Place - Best Newscast - Shelby Scott
Honorable Mention - Sports Play-by-Play - Luke Maiers

SAUtv - Student Market TV
Second Place - Best Newscast - SAUtv Staff
Second Place - News Photography, "Killer Bee"5K - Abbey Nimrick
Third Place - Overall Excellence in Anchoring - Abbey Nimrick
Third Place - Sports Coverage - "NAIA Golf Coverage" - Hailey Cook, Abbey Nimrick, Luke Maiers, & Jake Hannon

Former Ambrosians Janelle Tucker (KMCH radio, Manchester, Iowa) and Mike Ortiz '87 (KWQC-TV) again won awards this year from the IBNA.

2015

SAU senior Mitch Widmeier earned top honors at the prestigious Eric Sevareid Awards. He won first place for sports play-by-play and an "Award of Merit" for his "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" sports talk show on KALA. Each year, the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association presents awards to the best work done by broadcast news operations and journalists working in small, medium and large markets in the six-state region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Iowa and Nebraska.

Widmeier led a group of SAU students with several awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association. The 2014 winners from "News Excellence" are listed below:

Student TV
1st place Sports Play-By- Play - Mitch Widmeier - Compilation
2nd place Overall Excellence - SAUtv Staff - SAUtv Compilation
3rd place Political Coverage - Danielle Baresel - Political Debates at Galvin
3rd place Sports Coverage - Ryan McEvoy - Ashley Dexter
3rd place General Reporting - Shelby Shepherd - Preventing Assault on College Campuses

Student Radio
1st place Sports Coverage - Mitch Widmeier - 2014 Sports Coverage Compilation
1st place Sports Play-By-Play - Mitch Widmeier - Compilation
1st place Best Newscast - Shelby Shepherd & Mitch Widmeier - KALA This Week

Large Market Radio (KALA)
1st place Public Affairs - Johnna Kerres, David Baker, Shelby Shepherd, Shelby Steger, Mitch Widmeier, Aly Blech - In Their Own Words: Voices of Our Veterans

1st place Best Use of Online Media - Johnna Kerres, David Baker, Shelby Shepherd, Shelby Steger, Mitch Widmeier, Aly Blech - In Their Own Words: Voices of Our Veterans

Large Market Radio (KJOC)
3rd place Sports Play-By-Play - Mitch Widmeier - KJOC High School Sports Play-By-Play

Former Ambrosians, Mike Ortiz '87 (KWQC-TV) and Janelle Tucker (KMCH radio), were IBNA award winners as well.

2014

KALA Student Winners
Sports Coverage: First Place "Unsportsmanlike Conduct" – Mitch Widmeier
Sports Play-By Play: First place "Sports Play By Play" – Mitch Widmeier
Best Newscast: First Place "KALA This Week" - November 12, 2013 – Tom Prior/Kelly Steiner
In-Depth/Series: 2nd Place "Ambrosian Time Machine - Flood of 1965" – Mary Madormo '13

SAUtv Student Winners
Best Newscast: 2nd place "Dateline SAU - September 27, 2013" – Dateline SAU Staff
Best Sportscast: 3rd place "Dateline SAU: Best Sportscast - November 8, 2013" – Shelby Steger
Feature category: 2nd place "Ambrosian Oaks" – Mary Schechinger '13
3rd place "Chicago" – Nick Vlasin

Additionally, John Kealey, Jay Swords and David Baker '88 garnered a "Large Market Radio" award in the Public Affairs category for the interview/discussion show, "Relevant Or Irrelevant."

It was also a great night for KMCH radio in Manchester, IA. Station news director (and former Ambrosian) Janelle Tucker accepted awards for 1st Place for Overall Excellence in Small Market Radio, 1st Place for Overall Excellence in Anchoring, 2nd Place for Feature Story, 3rd Place for Best Newscast, 3rd Place for Political Coverage and Honorable Mention for Overall Excellence in Reporting.

KMCH was also honored with 1st Place for Overall Excellence in Weather Coverage and Janelle was elected to the board of the IBNA. She writes, "Congrats to SAU on all the awards... Proud to have roots at St. Ambrose."

What other unique learning opportunities do I have?

Build your reporting and communications skills. Join The Buzz, SAU's student-run newspaper. You can choose content; report and edit stories; design and layout pages; take pictures; and sell and design advertising.

Create programming that has real impact. For one project, funded in part with a $25,000 Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant, we interviewed veteran students and alumni to share what it was like to transition from the military to civilian life. It was part of a collaborative multi-platform public media project between Wisconsin Public Television and Kindling Group in partnership with local stations, like KALA, in an effort to shed light on veteran issues across the country. Read this story.

Intern and get hands-on, marketable experience. You'll learn from professionals and network with your future colleagues. The Quad Cities has two newspapers, five national TV affiliates, and dozens of radio stations. Our faculty have community connections that link you to internship opportunities.

Radio and Television majors have interned with local NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX affiliates, and with many area radio stations.

Public Relations and Strategic Communication majors have interned with Quad City Mallards, Genesis Medical Center, The District of Rock Island, Quad City River Bandits, and several advertising and public relations agencies.

Journalism students have interned with local NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX affiliates, and newspapers including the Quad-City Times and The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus.

The SAU Career Center will help you market yourself as the best candidate. Sign up for a resume review, mock interview, and much more.

What are some potential career outcomes?

Many of our graduates work at TV and radio stations, as on-air talent, producers, directors, photographers, and more. It's rare to find an unemployed Communication graduate.

You'll also find jobs at corporate audio/visual production departments, training centers, or creative agencies.

What have alumni of this program done?
  • Quetzal Morin '18 is with the Chicago Cubs, working its premiere club services and event operations.
  • Haley Gibbs '16 was editor-in-chief of The Buzz, an intern at KALA and KWQC-TV, and a top reporter/anchor for SAUtv - all while completing a double major in Journalism and Radio/TV, and a minor in Spanish. A winner of several student awards from the Iowa Broadcast News Association, Haley's education and passion for writing and storytelling led to a position at RealWorld Marketing in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Kelly Christopher '02 has skills at the camera and a love for sports which have taken him coast to coast. NFL Superbowl? NBA All-Star Game? Major League baseball playoffs? He's been front row (and sometimes on field) at all of them as a freelance camera operator.
  • Stephanie (Massick) Alexander '01 is a Public Relations Specialist at Skiff Medical Center. Previously, she worked as a print journalist and copy editor, and as a writer and web designer for a major healthcare provider.
Faculty and Staff

Jim Baumann, PhD, Professor and Chair

Brett Billman, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Marianne Fenn, PhD, Assoc. Professor
Liz Lareau, MS, Lecturer
Alan Sivell, MA, Asst. Professor

Communication Center/SAUtv and KALA Radio Staff and Instructors
Jon Anderson, Chief Engineer
Dave Baker, KALA Operations Manager
Duke Schneider, SAUtv Operations Manager
Shelby (Shepherd) Leabo, Production Specialist

Degree Requirements

Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media Production (46 credits)

Required:
COMM 224 Digital Media Production
COMM 225 Introduction to Visual Communication
COMM 230 Media Writing
COMM 232 Media & Society
COMM 305 Media Theory & Ethics
COMM 334 Digital Media Writing
COMM 335 Techniques in Audio Production
COMM 337 Digital Media Practicum (6 credits)
COMM 339 Broadcast Technologies
COMM 432 Communication Law
COMM 475 Convergent Digital Production
DSGN 200 Intermediate Special Topics: Motion Graphics

C+ Average required throughout the major.

Digital Media Production Minor (19 credits)

Required:

COMM 224 Digital Media Production, 4 credits
COMM 232 Media and Society
COMM 233 Topics in Communication or COMM 234 Intro to Sports Media
COMM 334 Digital Media Writing
COMM 335 Effective Podcast Production
COMM 337 Digital Media Practicum

Click here to read course descriptions in the online course catalog

Communication Studies Minor (15 credits)

Required:
COMM 203 Interpersonal Communication
COMM 232 Media and Society
COMM 326 Communication and Technology
COMM 340 Global Communication
COMM 327 Organizational Communication OR COMM 361 Topics in Strategic Communication

Plan to Graduate

This is the suggested plan of study to graduate in four years with a degree in Digital Media Production. Current students should use MySAU Portal Student Planning and consult with an advisor to determine graduation requirements.

This plan assumes the student has not taken three years of foreign language in high school.

Year One

FallCreditSpringCredit
COMM 232 Media and Society 3 WI-COMM 230 Media Writing 3
ENGL 101 Composition 3 COMM 225 Intro to Visual Comm. 3
COMM 224 Digital Media Production 4 Oral Communication 3
Foreign Language 101 3 THEO/PHIL 3
NSS 101 New Student Seminar 1 Foreign Language 102 3
Wellness Concepts 1 Information Literacy 1
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 16

Year Two

FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 335 Effective Podcast Production 3 COMM 337 Digital Media Practicum 3
Quantitative Reasoning 3 COMM 233 or COMM 234 3
Social Science 3 THEO/PHIL 3
Humanities 3 Natural Science 3
Elective 3 Elective 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Three

FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 337 Digital Media Practicum 3 COMM 339 Broadcast Tech 3
THEO/PHIL 3 WI-COMM 432 Media Law 3
Social Science 3 Humanities 3
Humanities 3 Electives 3
Elective 3 COMM 375 3
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Year Four

FallCreditsSpringCredits
COMM 305 Media Theory and Ethics 3 COMM 475 Convergent Digital Production 3
COMM 334 Digital Media Writing 3 THEO/PHIL (300-400 level) 3
Creative Arts 3 Electives 9
Electives 6
Total Credits 15 Total Credits 15

Note: Some courses need prerequisites, which have been factored into this plan. See the online course catalog for details.

WI writing intensive

Scholarships and Grants

First-Year

St. Ambrose offers excellent scholarships and grants, work-study and other financial aid options! Full-time students may be eligible based upon your strong academic performance in college, your talent in fine arts or athletics or your demonstrated financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The SAU school code for the FAFSA is 001889.

First-Year Scholarships and Institutional Aid 2022-2023

There is no need to apply for the scholarships or grants below; students automatically are eligible if they meet specific criteria. The Admissions Office calculates the award amount by using unweighted high school GPA and ACT/SAT scores. Please note, while St. Ambrose University has a test-optional admissions policy, standardized test scores are required for both admission to specific programs and/or eligibility for top academic scholarships. Scholarships and grants are renewable for four years of undergraduate study. 

Your scholarship will automatically renew each year of your undergraduate studies - up to four years - as long as you maintain satisfactory progress toward an undergraduate degree, achieve certain GPA requirements (see below), and remain a full-time student. 

Download helpful PDFs of this information here: First-Year Iowa Resident or First-Year Out of State Resident


IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Iowa Resident On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $15,000-$21,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Iowa Resident On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



IOWA RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Iowa Resident Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000-$16,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Iowa Resident Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Ambrose Advantage
Criteria: Iowa resident, Federal Pell Grant eligible, 2022 high school graduate, min. unweighted GPA 2.5, admitted to SAU, and FAFSA filed by Mar. 15. To remain eligible in subsequent years, students must maintain 2.5 GPA and qualify for the Federal Pell Grant.
Award: Full tuition

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING ON CAMPUS

Out of State On Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Trustee Scholar
Criteria: unweighted 3.9 GPA and minimum 29 ACT or 1340 SAT score. Must maintain 3.25 cumulative GPA in successive years.
Award: $25,000/year and invited to compete for an Ambrose Scholar full-tuition award

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $17,000-$23,000/year

University Grant
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $13,000/year

Out of State On Campus Additional Institutional Aid

Athletic Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Critieria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $1,000/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500-$1,000/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

Menke Parish Scholarship
Criteria: Diocese of Davenport parishioner, additional application required
Award: $1,000/year



OUT OF STATE RESIDENTS LIVING OFF CAMPUS

Out of State Off Campus Merit-Based Scholarships

Academic Scholarships
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score (optional)
Award: $14,000-$17,000/year

University Grants
Criteria: based on unweighted GPA and ACT/SAT score
Award: $11,000/year

Out of State Off Campus Additional Institutional Scholarships

Athletic Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability
Award: varies

Fine Arts Scholarships
Criteria: performance and ability in music, art and theatre
Award: varies

Fr. Welch Alumni Scholarships
Criteria: parent is a St. Ambrose graduate
Award: $500/year

Minority Scholarship
Criteria: ethnically diverse student, FAFSA required
Award: $500/year

Catholic Traditions Scholarship
Criteria: graduate from Catholic high school
Award: $2,000/year

State and Federal Grants, Work Study

Grants are money that you don't repay, and they can come from government or private sources. SAU receives all financial aid funds directly - including loans and grants - then applies them to your account: once in the fall term and once in the spring term. Grants can be used to cover your tuition, books, and housing costs. You must apply for grants each academic year. If you have any loan funds in excess of your costs, you may receive a refund. If you are a first-time borrower, there is a 30-day hold on your first disbursement. For all of these grants, you must complete the Free Application Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after October 1.


Iowa Tuition Grant
To be eligible for the Iowa Tuition Grant, you must be a resident of Iowa as defined by the State Board of Regents and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in an undergraduate degree program at an eligible Iowa college or university (SAU is eligible). Iowa College Aid administers need-based college financial aid for Iowans, such as the Iowa Tuition Grant. FAFSA deadline is July 1.
Award: $6,800

Federal Pell Grant
Awarded to students of the highest need based on how much your family can contribute to your education. The U.S. Department of Education sets a Expected Family Contribution (EFC) threshold. Then, when you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it computes where you land within that threshold and determines if you qualify for the grant and for how much.
Award: $6,345 maximum

Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
To qualify, you must file a FAFSA by the priority deadline of March 15 and you must qualify for a Pell Grant. This grant is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to students who have submitted all required documents for review and in time for the review to be complete. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant or SEOG, the awards will appear on your financial aid award letter. Award: $400 maximum

Federal Work Study
Criteria: based on financial need. File FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1.
Award: $1,850

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant 
Provides aid to students intending to teach in a high-need field at a school that serves low-income families (as determined by the U.S. Department of Education or a state education agency). Review criteria and all details here.
Award: up to $4,000

Outside Scholarships

There are many opportunities to receive scholarships from outside sources, here are a few websites to begin researching your options:

Another tip: Next time you're on campus, check out the bulletin board outside Bee Central where we post more flyers and applications for outside scholarships.


Tim McNicholas '13


"A couple months after graduating, I landed a job doing exactly what I wanted to: reporting the news. Six months later, I was able to jump more than 30 markets and do the same job in a much bigger city. Because of the hands-on experience offered at SAU, I entered my field already familiar with the expectations of a professional journalist."

Read about another Communication Department graduate, Tim Bladel '14.

Apply Visit Info

Contact


Jim Baumann, PhD, Chairperson

Communication Department
Galvin Fine Arts Center, Office 35
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6048
BaumannJamesA@sau.edu

So, what's next?

Are you ready to take the next step? Click on the visit button below to learn more about our virtual and in-person visit options.