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New Major Guides Students from Print to Digital Media

To meet the demands of a changing media landscape, North Greenville University is offering a new digital media major to train students in new ways of communicating through Internet and social media.

With a major in Digital Media, students will learn to design, produce, and manage digital content for various media including mobile technology, small screens, web, broadcast, social media, and other virtual environments. Students will learn how to strategically connect with targeted audiences and adjust their communication based on analytics and creative design.

Since 2007, the print news industry has spiraled downward in the wake of a global recession. In 2008, the Pew Research Center found that the Internet had surpassed newspapers as both a national and international news source for the first time in history. Newspapers had been holding on by a thread with the Internet dominating news distribution.  Unfortunately, advertising revenue also sank with a drop of nearly 26 billion dollars in less than eight years, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey.

News is just one aspect of the digital media revolution. The need to connect with target audiences is something traditional electronic media has satisfied for decades, but the shift to connecting with a new digital audience has been dramatic.

“Understanding how digital media and all it's various components are engaged, evolving trends in tracking, relevance in storytelling and the real interface between desktop, mobile and within Apps across demographics are some of the key areas for digital competency,” said Curtis Baxter, Digital Media Strategy Manager at Salem Web Network.

Corporate America has demonstrated that importance by increasing its social media spending more than 1,000 percent over the past seven years.  News distribution continues to shift with the ubiquitous use of social media. In fact, A Pew Research poll in 2015 found that 63 percent of Facebook and Twitter users say each platform serves as a main source for news about events and issues outside the realm of friends and family.

“The digital arena does not seem to be going anywhere soon,” said Baxter. “Subsequently, as more and more business enterprises seek to reach and grow their markets across all media channels, it is imperative that students not only understand the digital arena, they must have practical hands on involvement.”

NGU’s new digital program will do just that.  Students build their resumes very early in the program through involvement in the university’s digital media practicum experiences. Students have the opportunity to get involved in The Vision Online, The Vision Magazine, Vision-48 TV, and The Vibe 95.5fm, giving them more than three years of practical experience before they graduate. 

In addition to the practicum experiences, students also complete an internship with a professional digital media organization that extends their professional contacts to build a network of potential job opportunities.

‘I am proud to have partnered with NGU's Communication department in their updating of the curriculum surrounding the world we live in,” said Jeremiah Dew, Owner of Dew Productions LLC and "Host with the Most.”  

Dew was one of several local digital media professionals who met with NGU’s mass communication department to discuss the digital media major.  The program was then tailored to give students the best possible chance of working in digital media after graduation.  

“I look forward to working alongside them and their students in the future, as NGU develops critical thinkers and leaders in the current economic landscape,” said Dew.

WYFF-4’s Digital Media Manager Stephanie Towers said digital media experience is one of the first things they look for when hiring new media professionals.

“Bottom line: it’s a must in the business these days,” said Towers. “Without it, you are left behind.”

According to Indeed.com, digital and social media jobs have increased by a staggering 550,000 percent from January 2006 to January 2015.

“This astronomical growth further serves to illustrate the incredible opportunities NGU has to train up a generation of digital media professionals who can make an impact on the world,” said Dr. Heidi Campbell, chair of the mass communication department at North Greenville University.

For more information about the Digital Media degree. 

Story by Karyn Campbell, NGU Mass Communication instructor and The Vision Online and Magazine Adviser.

   

 

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