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About the Program

Program Description 

Recent changes in the media world have shown that students entering this industry need training beyond the journalism concentration of writing and reporting. BSC now offers video and audio broadcast, as well as electronic (Web) publishing and digital elements as part of the Mass Communications program.

The degree plan provides background in the journalism/mass communications profession and conveys the importance and responsibility of presenting accurate information in the media. Courses cover ethical writing skills, news photography, print publication, Web publication and video-audio production.

The program offers hands-on professional experience working on The Mystician, BSC's student print and online news magazine, and the broadcast components, MystiCast and The MYX. Journalism scholarships are available through the BSC Foundation. Scholarship recipients act as leads for the student newspaper and the video and radio broadcasts.


Students planning to study Mass Communications should have an interest in writing and the potential to communicate information obtained by observation and interview. Other helpful characteristics are curiosity, eye for detail, and desire to learn by reading and talking to others. A background in writing, technology, business and political science is helpful. Experience with publications or broadcast is also beneficial.

Program Requirements

Students who complete the curriculum requirements can complete a transfer degree, a technical degree or graduate with both degrees.


Transfer - Associate in Arts or Associate in Science

Students earning one of these degrees will complete general courses with a focus on communications classes as electives.

Technical - Associate in Applied Science

In this two-year program, students take core communications courses and then choose one focus area to specialize. Focus areas are Writing and Reporting, Media Production, Publication and Web Design, and Public Relations and Marketing.

Those transferring to other institutions or earning both transfer and technical degrees should consult the catalog of the transfer school and modify BSC's suggested curriculum where necessary. Contact your BSC advisor for assistance with transfer planning.



Career Opportunities

With society continually in need of information, careers in the communications industry are diverse. Graduates will find employment in a variety of areas: print, broadcast and electronic media, advertising, public relations, government agencies, and industries, including energy and digital technology.

Career Possibilities: journalist-reporter, correspondent, editor, news analyst, news director, broadcast producer, photographer, videographer, audio-video technician, Web page writer/editor/designer, technical writer, public relations specialist, freelance writer, blogger or vlogger.

About the People

karen Bauer

Mystic Media/The Mystician Adviser

Tel: 701.224.5522

Dusty Anderson

MystiCast Adviser

Tel: 701.224.5674

Cole Bernhardt

The MYX Adviser

Tel: 701.224.2679

As an associate  professor of journalism and student media adviser at Bismarck State College, karen Bauer might never retire—as long as she continues learning from her students.


She began her journalism career as a paste-up artist at the local newspaper but decided to go back to school when she was scolded for sending error-filled copy back to the editors for changes.


She started her education at BSC taking journalism classes and joining the student newspaper staff. She also took English classes and found that her calling was teaching, so she transferred to the University of Mary and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts major in English/English Teaching and a minor in philosophy. 

She completed her Master of Arts in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia in December 2020.


While teaching English at a Bismarck middle school, she had the opportunity to go full circle and return to BSC. In the spring of 2000, she received an offer for the adviser position at the student newspaper, The Mystician. She accepted and has been there ever since.


Several years ago, she helped develop an Associate in Applied Science degree in Mass Communications, which provides students with the experience of working on the newspaper, video broadcast, internet radio and the literary arts magazine.


She teaches journalism courses and is the BSC Mystic Media and The Mystician adviser.


Every year brings challenges, but students continue to be her reward – helping them produce quality news media for the campus and community and taking them on journalism adventures from New York City to St. Joseph, Missouri to Fort Yates, North Dakota.


She is an advocate for free speech rights for students and a supporter of the John Wall New Voices Act.


In her rare spare time, karen plays with her grandchildren, enjoys reading and writing, likes walking and gardening, listens to NPR and reads the Saturday newspaper—always with a hot cup of coffee.


And the lower case 'k' is not a typo.

Dusty Anderson has been making videos since high school. Recording videos on his parents old VHS-C camcorder and connecting multiple VCRs together to edit, sparked his passion for video and the all things AV tech.


Dusty graduated with an AAS in Commercial Art (now Graphic Design and Communications) at BSC, while working full-time at KFYR-TV. While working at the TV station, Dusty held pretty much every behind the scene job there was. He did everything from directing newscasts, to shooting and editing commercials/promotional pieces. He was honored to have been nominated for an Emmy award as co-execiutive producer and editor for a documentary that was put together in just weeks, following the 2009 floods.


Dusty has freelanced for several large productions. He has worked for TLC’s Trading Spaces Family, ESPN Monday Night Football, and twice for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, among others. He also spent three years as the Dakota Wizards, Tricaster Director, where he learned how to live-stream video content. He currently freelances several gigs including editing a semi-monthly real estate show for Consolidated Telcom in Dickinson, ND, editing social media content for Vinatge Guitar Magazine and shooting sports with Midco Sports Network.


He currently serves as BSC’s Production Coordinator, where he gets to spend his time figuring out logistics for all thing’s audio/video on campus. Dusty has been with BSC for over 10 years and is credited with starting both MystiCast and getting The MYX up and running.


Dusty enjoys all the hands-on learning that comes with the video industry. Seeing students create their own videos and productions makes him excited for the future of broadcasting. 

Dusty spends most of his free time hanging out with his two sons. He is a sports junkie and loves helping to coach their soccer and baseball seasons. 

Cole Bernhardt has worked in the multi-media field for over 15 years. He works full time at Bismarck State College as a Media Production Associate, creating media content for the college relations department of the college. He has been an adviser for Mystic Media and The MYX for 5 years.


Cole began his multimedia career after graduation with a bachelor's degree from Minnesota State University Moorhead. He started a production company called Red Rope Productions in Fargo, ND. Specializing in producing music videos and promotional material for musical acts in the region.


Following his experience with private ownership, Cole accepted a Production Manager position at the Fox Broadcasting affiliate in Bismarck ND in 2010. This gave him the opportunity to slow life down a bit while continuing to gain experience in the field. 


In 2014 Cole accepted his current position at Bismarck State College. About a year into his job at BSC is when he was offered the adjunct position with Mystic Media. This was Cole’s first experience in teaching and he is very grateful to have the experience. He enjoys teaching the next generation and watching them grow their talents and pursue their dreams.


Cole is also an experienced musician, playing professionally for 20 years. Through out his musical career he has toured the far corners of Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota. Playing small honkey tonks to large capacity venues. He has had the opportunity to open for acts such as Poison, 38 special, and John Michael Montgomery. At the height of his touring days, he would play nearly every weekend and sometimes two weeks straight through, averaging 150 gigs a year. These days he has cut his gigs down to around 50 a year as to devote more time to his family and career.

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