In a nod to the realities of today’s media professions, the University of Memphis’ Department of Journalism and Strategic Media updated its name in 2016 to better reflect the academic diversity of a department featuring majors not only in news writing but also in advertising and public relations.
This fall, the department will step further into the 21st century by adding a new concentration, Creative Mass Media, which will prepare students to become media innovators who can create content in a variety of methods and formats.
“These classes aren’t new,” said Matt Haught, assistant professor of journalism and strategic media at the UofM. “These classes have been on the books, some of them for 50 years. And these aren’t new concepts to media, but they’re newly organized for 21st-century media.
“We did this because we saw a lot of students wanting to go into media-based creative careers, and we saw that we already had the classes in place and we already had the resources in place. It just made sense.”
In this concentration, students will take classes in journalism, advertising, public relations, media design and photojournalism. The latter two classes will be cross-listed with the UofM’s Department of Art.
With a concentration in Creative Mass Media, graduates could work as an art director for an advertising agency, as a content creator for a news organization as a web content producer, a media designer or a photojournalist, Haught said.
Forty-two students will be in the concentration when it begins this fall. Those students will be required to take 45 hours in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media, including 24 in the Creative Mass Media concentration. Creative Mass Media students will take Creative Strategy in advertising, three courses in journalism (Multimedia Storytelling, Web Publishing I and Creative Media Lab), three additional classes in either journalism or advertising (such as Publication Design, Advertising Campaigns, Advanced Photojournalism) and a Journalism and Strategic Media elective.
“The coolest thing is that this is a subject that focuses on being that media person who can innovate,” Haught said. “The dean (College of Communication and Fine Arts Dean Anne Hogan) gave a great example when she was talking about this.
“If you’re a startup, you need a lot of things. You need a logo. You need social media accounts. You need brand standards. You need someone who can write about it. You need someone who can take pictures of it. You need someone who can build your whole identity, and that is what a Creative Mass Media student can do because they have that journalistic writing training, they have that photojournalism training, they have that advertising, design and branding (training), and they have that strategic piece that comes from interacting from all of these disparate disciplines.”
— Phillip Tutor, CCFA media coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org