Photo courtesy of Vanessa Vancour
Jazmin Orozco, interviews a Reno community member for Noticiero Móvil. Noticiero Móvil is a bilingual publication in Northern Nevada offered to students as a part of the bilingual media track.

The Reynolds School of Journalism is currently developing a new bilingual media track that will be offered to students next fall.

The program is being made in an effort to provide students with a new experience and opportunity to learn about the Spanish language and culture.

“What we hope is that students that are not just Latino themselves, but are interested in Latino issues or are thinking about how important this population is to the United States, will be drawn to either just taking a few classes or doing the whole specialization,” said Donica Mensing, associate dean of the RSJ.

The RSJ projects the specialization will consist of six courses and follow an interdisciplinary system by partnering with the Spanish and anthropology departments. Students that complete this track will have the Spanish language media specialization indicated on their diploma.

The specialization came as a result of Noticiero Movil, a student-run bilingual publication in Northern Nevada. Started by RSJ professor Vanessa Vancour, faculty began to notice the interest students took in the bilingual field.

“When we got the funding and found out that our students were interested, our media partners were interested and there’s a huge demand for this talent in the journalism industry, that’s when we kind of felt this was […] something that we should offer our students,” Vancour said. “The students who have taken the class have expressed that they appreciate it because they are able to practice skills that they are not able to practice anywhere else.”

Once the program is fully underway, the RSJ will become the first undergraduate school in the country to offer a degree in bilingual media. However, they will not be the first to develop one. California State Northridge and Arizona State University have offered bilingual programs in the past, but the specialization track at the RSJ will be the first of its kind.

“I’m excited about the new Spanish track because ever since I was little I wanted to be a bilingual reporter,” said Stephanie Lamas, a student at the RSJ. “Growing up Mexican-American, I always compared Mexico’s media with American media and saw how different the Spanish media was in a negative way. My goal is to change the way Mexico’s media is and this track is making it possible to follow my dream.”

The program will have classes that will attract students with an emphasis in news or strategic communications. Ezequiel Korin, assistant professor of Spanish Language Studies, will teach a class pertaining to marketing to Latino/a consumer’s starting this spring.

“I want to make sure that the program we’re building is very practical and we’re giving the students the experience that they really want,” Vancour said. “If anybody has ideas, I think it’s important for the students to weigh in, because we’re just developing the program, to let us know.”

Karolina Rivas can be reached at mpurdue@sagebrush.unr and on twitter @karolinarrivas.