The Department of Journalism and Strategic Media at the University of Memphis offers preparation for careers in advertising, broadcast news, multimedia journalism, public relations, sports journalism and visual and creative media. Students are required to take career-oriented skills courses to enhance skills in writing, multimedia, media literacy, professionalism, and critical thinking as they relate to careers in the media. The undergraduate programs of the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media are fully accredited by the Accrediting Council For Education in Journalism and Mass Communications. The public relations major is certified by the Public Relations Society of America.
Program objectives for a B.A. in Advertising, Journalism, or Public Relations are for students to:
- Understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press for the country in which the institution that invites ACEJMC is located, as well as receive instruction in and understand the range of systems of freedom of expression around the world, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances;
- Demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications;
- Demonstrate an understanding of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and, as appropriate, other forms of diversity in domestic society in relation to mass communications.
- Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of peoples and cultures and of the significance and impact of mass communications in a global society;
- Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
- Demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
- Think critically, creatively and independently;
- Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in which they work;
- Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve;
- Critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness;
- Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts;
- Apply current tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work, and to understand the digital world.
No matter which program of study is selected, students must have a strong background in liberal arts and an understanding of the social sciences to augment their professional skills. Consequently, students must earn 72 hours of courses from outside the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media in the 120 hours required for graduation and must follow the guidelines provided by the university to qualify for a Bachelor of Arts degree.
All students in Journalism and Strategic Media complete a first-year core of JRSM 1700, JRSM 1750, and JRSM 2121, as these courses are prerequisites for many advanced courses in the individual programs of study. The first-year core must be completed within the first calendar year in the program.
Prerequisite courses must be completed with a minimum grade of “C-” before moving on to any course in the program to which the prerequisites are applied; students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in JRSM 2121 to move on. Majors and minors who fail to earn the minimum passing grade (“C-” or “C” in JRSM 2121) in a class required by their program of study in Journalism and Strategic Media more than three times will be dropped from the program.
A grade point average of 2.0 is required to declare and maintain a major in the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media. Additionally, students must have a 2.0 grade point average in journalism and strategic media classes to graduate.
Students who fail to comply with the above criteria may be permanently dropped from the program.
On-campus practical experience is available through The Daily Helmsman newspaper, WUMR campus radio station, Tiger News campus TV newscast and the Meeman 901 Strategies strategic media firm, as well as through publicity and communications offices throughout campus. All students in Journalism and Strategic Media are required to have a credit-earning work experience.
All undergraduate students are required to develop and maintain an active portfolio of their work. Students are to begin the portfolio in JRSM 3900 or JRSM 3950 and contribute to it during every skills course thereafter. The portfolio should contain samples of the student’s work from their courses and/or professional experience and should develop as the student builds skills. Portfolios will undergo a final review while students are enrolled in the capstone course for their program of study.
Students are recommended to have a minor; each program of study has recommended minors.
Areas of Study
The Bachelor of Arts in Advertising trains students for careers in advertising in agency, corporate, nonprofit and freelance settings. Advertising graduates typically work as account executives, account planners, art directors, brand managers, copy writers, creative directors, media buyers, media planners, researchers and social media managers. Advertising students take 48 hours of credit from Journalism and Strategic Media and 9 hours in Marketing.
Creative Mass Media
The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, concentration in Creative Mass Media, trains students to be a well-rounded creative media professional. Creative mass media concentration graduates typically work as art directors, audio/video editors, content producers, creative directors, media designers, media photographers, social media managers, web designers and web strategists. Creative mass media concentration students take 48 hours of credit from Journalism and Strategic Media and 9 hours from the Department of Art focused on graphic design or photography.
The Bachelor of Arts in Journalism trains students to become professionals in the news industry. Journalism graduates typically work at magazines, newspapers, television stations and online news outlets as anchors, content creators, editors, photographers, producers, reporters and social media managers. Journalism students take 48 hours of credit from Journalism and Strategic Media.
The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations trains students to for careers in public relations in agency, corporate, nonprofit and freelance settings. The public relations program is offered on campus in Memphis, on campus at Lambuth and online through UofM Global. Public relations graduates typically work as account executives, corporate communications specialists, crisis specialists, event planners, researchers and social media managers. Public relations students graduate with multiple certifications, including social media analytics, Google tools, and media analysis. Public relations students take 48 hours of credit from Journalism and Strategic Media, 3 hours in Management and 6 hours in Marketing.
Strategic Social Media
The Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, concentration in Strategic Social Media, equips students with the practical skills and critical knowledge that they need to use social media to deepen impact in any industry, including strategy development, digital analytics, paid and organic social campaigns, and audience research. Strategic Social Media concentration graduates typically work as social media managers, entrepreneurs, or as public relations professionals in government, corporate, nonprofit or agency settings. Strategic Social Media students take 48 hours of credit from Journalism and Strategic Media and 9 hours in Marketing.