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Journalism school officially renamed — with light show

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School Media and Journa
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - AUGUST 27, 2015: The University of North Carolina Chapel School of Media and Journalism is bathed in blue light to kickoff a campaign celebrating the schools new name. The school strives to train the next generation of media professionals, including journalists, strategic communicators, teachers and researchers while being a resource to journalism and communication professionals. (Photo by Steve Exum/

UNC's journalism school celebrated its new name on Friday with a light show across the front of Carroll Hall, a disc jockey and cake.

Students, teachers and alumni in the newly labeled School of Media and Journalism gathered in Carroll Hall to discuss the school's 65-year history and its future.

“The business is changing, the demand for higher education teaching is changing, and we wanted a name that really reflected our commitment to the changes,” Susan King, dean of the journalism school, said. 

The name change was proposed in August 2014 and then voted on by the staff and approved by the Board of Trustees. 

According to the school’s mission statement, the new name reflects "the school’s evolution into a modern, innovative media school." 

“I’ve been here three years, and sometimes (the industry) changes so fast, I’m surprised it wasn’t like that three years ago,” King said. “But I think the students are more adept to the changes more than anyone else. Each class that comes here to the school is more digitally savvy than the class before.” 

Andy Bechtel, a professor of editing and writing, said he has seen the journalism industry change in his 10 years at UNC.

“Ten years ago, we weren’t talking about social media or Twitter, but it’s a big part of the class now,” he said. “Technology has changed a lot about how we teach. But I think the same principles apply to journalism like accuracy, storytelling and being watchdogs — all of that is still intact regardless of our name change.” 

The celebration started with a seminar in which four journalism school alumni spoke about their experiences in the school and how it led to their careers. 

The panel included Wendy Bounds, executive director of content for Consumer Reports; Gregory Johnson, former marketing director of Nike's Michael Jordan brand and managing director of Orbital Socket; Julie Dixon, deputy managing director of Golin; and Gabriel Dance, managing editor of The Marshall Project. 

The school also revealed its new slogan, "Start Here. Never Stop," a phrase developed by students. 

“I didn’t know that there was going to be a slogan to go along with the name change, but it makes a lot of sense to talk about how we’re going to start our career here and how we’re never really going to stop even when we walk out of these doors,” freshman Kara Roberts said. “I think they did a great job, and I think it was awesome that it came from the students.” 

Roberts said she liked that the school was willing to change with the times. 

“As a freshman coming into Carolina, this is a school that I am interested in, and it really helps solidify that choice,” she said. “They knew that everything is changing and they even changed their name to reflect that.”

King said the school's commitment to faculty and students makes it special. 

“What makes us different among our peers is we have great scholars and great professionals, and they respect each other,” she said.

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