Journalism students at Utah State University will now be able to declare an emphasis in social media. The new emphasis will be available to students beginning fall semester.
Currently, the Journalism and Communications department is offering one social media class to its students. Cameron Olds, who is getting a JCOM degree with an emphasis in public relations, is a student in the current social media class. He explained that the class has helped him find his way in the world of social media.
“It has helped me navigate and make more sense of the world. It has honed my skills, and not only be a content creator, but be an effective content creator,” Olds said.
This single class will now be split into three different courses.
Candi Carter Olson and Debra Jenson, journalism professors, teach the current course and have been helping pave the way for the new emphasis. They said the department realized this was coming and are excited to be the first school in Utah to offer this.
“Since that time, social media has exploded exponentially and become one of the primary ways we are communicating,” Carter Olson said.
Faculty and students both agreed that the new emphasis is vital to keep up with the way social media has changed the career field for journalists.
Ashlyn Peterson, JCOM/PR major, said, “Social media is becoming a really big part of the culture in today’s world. If you want to be out there, it is important for you to be on social media.”
The three-course track will feature courses on social media foundations, content creation, and analytics. Students will be working for a client and become their social media manager.
The goal of these courses is for students to learn how to share important stories effectively across social media platforms. By the end of the track, students will be able to show employers the content they’ve created and the skills they’ve learned along the way.
“We send them out doing things that employers are loving in their interviews,” Dr. Jenson said. “They are going be able to do it and speak to it in a much more academic and professional way.”