Iowa Broadcasters Association Creates Applied Learning Experiences for Communication and Media Students

An innovative partnership between the Iowa Broadcasters Association (IBA) Foundation and the UNI Department of Communication and Media is continuing to expand engaged learning experiences for students. Since 2005, the IBA Foundation has sponsored professional development and career readiness programming in the department, benefiting hundreds of students. 

One of the department’s signature events, the annual Fast Forward workshop, was offered this fall thanks to the IBA Foundation’s support. Fast Forward connects Iowa students with media experts and working professionals across the Midwest. This year’s keynote speaker Ben Hagarty, a 2011 graduate, shared his experience working as a videographer for major recording artists like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Chris Brown and Alicia Keys. In his remarks, Hagarty said attending a Fast Forward workshop as a student inspired him to dream big for himself and his future career.

Ben Hagarty with a presentation on a pull down screen behind him, speaking at Fast Forward 2023


“We’ve been doing Fast Forward since 2005, and have had at least 2,500 students experience the annual workshop,” said Christopher Martin, a UNI professor of digital journalism. “This effort is part of what helps to keep young people interested in broadcast media careers in Iowa and all of the ways they have evolved in the past two decades."

The Iowa Broadcasters Association was founded in 1951 and works to “promote, protect and enhance free over-the-air broadcasting.” In addition to engaged learning experiences, the association’s philanthropic arm has generously supported students and faculty in the department with scholarships and resources to expand teaching and outreach. In 2017, the IBA Foundation was recognized with the UNI Foundation’s Corporation and Foundation Award for distinguished philanthropic leadership and support of the university.

“We’re grateful to the IBA Foundation for their commitment to connecting students and young professionals to careers in media,” said John Fritch, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Sciences. “Their partnership continues to elevate our media programs by supporting our faculty and making applied learning experiences more accessible for our students.” 

The IBA Foundation’s grant was provided through the Our Tomorrow campaign.