The Communication Department is home to the Media Entertainment Lab, The MEL! Located in the Mel Johnson Media Center, the MEL strives to be a creative community focused on crafting stories. It’s a safe place to experiment, make mistakes, and discover your mission.

Pursue Christ. Pursue Craft.

As Communication Studies or Media Production majors, we believe pursing Christ and pursuing craft gives us a mission. When we pursue Jesus and pursue our craft wholeheartedly together, good things happen. Creativity isn’t always easy. Sometimes pursing your craft can be a lifelong journey, but the MEL has seen so many success stories along the way! Each one of them starts as students choose to pursue Christ and pursue craft during their time at UNW.

Student Opportunities

  • Students can be a part of the Five16 Film Festival every April. Outside of the student workshop, students can submit their films to the festival to be featured in front of the student body, but for extra help from professors who are knowledgeable in this field, students can take part in the Five16 Film Productions workshop for 0-1 credit no matter their major or area of interest.
  • Students attend the MEL Conference each year where they put creativity into practice and learn practical skills for incorporating their creativity into everyday life and work.
  • Students have the opportunity to experience CMB University Media Conference in Nashville, the Sundance Film Festival/Windrider Institute in Park City, as well as a study abroad media project with Daystar University in Kenya.
  • Honors students have the opportunity to join Xi Xi, the University of Northwestern (UNW) chapter of the national honor society for communication, Lambda Pi Eta (LPH). LPH has over 400 active chapters at four-year colleges and universities worldwide. It represents what Aristotle described in his book, Rhetoric, as the three ingredients of persuasion: Logos (Lambda) meaning logic, Pathos (Pi) relating to emotion, and Ethos (Eta) defined as character credibility and ethics.

Get Upstairs

Northwestern Media, a UNW owned media network with 81 signals across 11 states and 1.4 million weekly listeners, is located on the second floor of the Mel Johnson Media Center. This means students run into their mentors in the radio world on a daily basis. MEL students act as their “farm team,” with opportunities to voice track for stations across the network, work alongside their podcast network, run social media accounts, work as videographers and photographers for concerts and promotions, and intern with stations alongside their engagement team as event planners. Some upperclassmen have even had the opportunity to host their own radio show at one of the network stations. Currently 20+ alumni are working within the network and the that number continues to grow. 

Real-World Experience

  • Gain hands-on real-world experience in your first semester. Choose from one of our workshops (Film, Radio, Video), and learn in an environment where mistakes are welcome as you learn how to excel.
  • Radio & Podcasting Productions offers a students the opportunity to learn the operations of a real radio station hosted in the MEL as on-air talent. As upperclassmen, students can join the student leadership team and run the station alongside their peers.
  • Five16 Film Productions provides students with hands-on experience and training in writing, directing, producing and editing different types of video productions. Students will be working in crews (teams) in bringing a project from conception to completion.
  • News & Documentary Productions gives students experience in the production of television news. News & Documentary Productions is a news program produced for distribution over the local cable television system. Students are involved in all aspects of the production.


  • Media and Communication careers are growing fast–jobs are projected to grow by 6% from 2021–2031 with nearly 68,000 new opportunities and 115,000+ established job opportunities opening each year
  • Employers consistently rank strong communication as the most highly-valued and desirable job skill needed for new hires!
  • The Twin Cities provide numerous internship and freelance opportunities. As the 14 largest media market in the U.S., Northwestern is connected to an accessible and vibrant community of media producers, production companies, ad agencies, sports teams, Radio/TV stations, church/media ministries, event planning agencies, and Communication specialists.

Department Newsletter

The Department of Communication sends a monthly e-newsletter (dotComm), which includes updates on faculty, students, and alumni. This is a great way to stay updated on events and news coming from our department.

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Majors and Programs

These degrees and programs prepare students for careers in the media industry and corporate and nonprofit organizations.

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Department of Communication


Mel Johnson Media Center
2993 Snelling Avenue North
St. Paul, MN 55113