CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia University Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism will soon be known as the Reed College of Media.
Administrators of the 75-year-old journalism school believe the name will reflect a more modern direction of the field, and provide a larger umbrella that will include new programs such as the school's recent addition of a strategic communications major, said Maryanne Reed, the school's dean.
"What we felt like was that everything -- all of our disciplines that we teach -- intersect with media. Either on the news side or the communications side, we wouldn't exist without media, and media will always be here," Reed said on Friday, after the name change was presented to the WVU Board of Governors.
"We really think it's a name that will stand the test of time," said Reed, who is not related to former journalism professor Perley Isaac Reed. His name will still be part of the school, which will be officially renamed on July 1.
The journalism school has implemented a slew of changes in recent years, adding new digital-based courses and creating minors such as "strategic social media." The school is also creating a 10,000-square-foot Media Innovation Center, planned for 2015, which will facilitate "innovative curricula, applied research and project development in emerging media applications."
The renaming and rebranding process has taken more than two years and has involved faculty, students and multiple outside agencies that conducted "extensive market research" and polled journalism professionals in and out of the state, Reed said.
"We wanted to get a sense of what people thought about journalism and journalism education and the value of a degree. We sensed that the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism wasn't resonating with future students and seemed old-fashioned and very limiting," Reed said.
The name change -- and the removal of the word "journalism" -- is especially troubling to P.I. Reed alumni, Reed said.
"How we did this was very important to us. I have done, just personally, a lot of sharing of this over the past two months. We've been trying to talk to folks we thought would feel very emotional about it," she said. "Taking 'journalism' out of the name was really something that took a lot of thought, and I think a little heartache.
"But we think that what we're doing is creating a larger umbrella. We're not eliminating journalism; it's the foundation of what we do. We just needed to be more inclusive, and this allows room for future growth and new majors," Reed said.
Reach Mackenzie Mays at mackenzie.m...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-4814.