Journalism and Communication

Professional Training, Responsible Reporting

The JCOM program is designed to prepare students for careers in a wide range of communication fields. Students focus on general mass communication theory, history and philosophy, as well as the professional practice of mass media in broadcast, print, multimedia or public relations. They hone skills such as writing, information-gathering, reporting, video production, and media literacy, and routinely win regional and national awards in journalism and public relations.

JCOM students also learn how to think critically. Our students graduate with a liberal arts background, meaning they are skilled media professionals who understand the impact, responsibilities, and implications of the mass media in today's society. Students must choose one of three emphases—broadcast/electronic media, print, or public relations—and have a minor designed to build expertise. USU is the only university in the state where students can get a degree in agricultural communications and journalism.

The department maintains leading-edge studios and labs to help train students in various communications skills in the new Agricultural Sciences Building. Students have access to a multimedia computer newsroom, video preproduction studio and full TV studio, and a photographic darkroom.

Emphases

  • Broadcast/Electronic Media: Focuses on the distribution of video and audio content to a wide audience via television, radio, and the Internet. Students learn to write radio and TV scripts as well as how to use electronic media equipment. Students can get hands-on experience by getting involved with Utah Public Radio, Aggie radio, or Aggie TV.
  • Print Journalism: Students learn how to find, collect, and report the news. They typically find careers writing for either a newspaper or magazine. Most students in this emphasis write for the on-campus newspaper, The Utah Statesman.
  • Public Relations/Corporate Communication: Public relations is concerned with maintaining the public perception of an organization, business or person. A PR specialist may be involved with image building, media relations, event planning, crisis management, web communications, social media, etc.

Real-World Training

All students must complete a one-semester internship before graduation. Because of the hands-on learning students receive while in the program, students have substantial experience and are more likely to be hired post-graduation. Many intern at non-profits, government agencies, and news media such as The Deseret Morning News, KSL-TV, National Geographic, The Logan Herald-Journal, KTVX-TV and KUTV, and The Salt Lake Tribune. These experiences help them to thrive in today's fast-changing communications environment.

JCOM majors can get involved with news production on campus by working at A-TV News, writing for Hard News Cafe, or reporting for Aggie Radio and Utah Public Radio. The new student-initiated JCOM Communicators’ Guild also provides a vehicle for students to take ownership of their department and their education.