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New degree: Emerging/new media

New degree: Emerging/new media

A new wave of media is setting the world on fire.

With the emergence of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and the proliferation of online news, there's been a shift away from print journalism for the most part. Multiple marketing and public relations campaigns are now including social media as a major outlet for reaching people. The fields of journalism, marketing, advertising, public relations and business seem to have been changed forever.

To equip students with the knowledge to navigate 21st century media, a new degree program has taken hold: new/emerging media. It entails a lot more than you might think.

What a new media degree entails

New media and emerging media degree programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate level, ranging from an associate degree to a master's degree. These programs typically seek to prepare students for evolving fields such as journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising -- teaching them how to be both technologically savvy and effective communicators on multiple media platforms.

Each new media degree program varies. To give you an idea, here are some courses offered through several new media programs:

  • Digital video production
  • Public relations and reputation management
  • Social networking
  • News editing
  • Photojournalism
  • Web design
  • Internet marketing
  • New media publishing
  • Advertising
  • Computer imaging
  • Social psychology

As you can see, these programs don't prepare students in just one area. Since so many communication mediums are blending these days, it may not always be enough anymore to just possess one skill, like writing or photography. Many major news organizations, for example, now post stories online in all formats (text, video, photo, etc.). Businesses, public relations firms and advertising agencies, in some cases, seek knowledge of web design, social media and search engine optimization to thrive. New media degree programs typically prepare students to learn all of these things.

Staying current in the media field sums up the spirit of new media degree programs.

Career opportunities for new media graduates

Graduates of new media degree programs may be able to enter a number of fields, ranging from journalism to the entertainment industry. Their training in multiple communication methods and technologies may make them eligible to apply for a number of different jobs at publications, PR firms, advertising agencies and businesses.

Here are just three careers a new media graduate may want to look into:

  • Reporter or broadcast news analyst: Reporters write articles or present stories for publications (in print or online) and TV/video broadcasts. This may also entail taking photos, shooting videos or posting on social media sites. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of broadcast news analysts is projected to grow by 10 percent between 2010 and 2020, whereas employment for reporters and correspondents is projected to decline by 8 percent.
  • Public relations specialist: Public relations specialists help clients communicate with the public by writing press releases and web content, developing fundraising strategies, drafting speeches and much more. According to the BLS, employment of public relations specialists is projected to grow by 23 percent between 2010 and 2020.
  • Marketing manager: Marketing managers can do anything from estimate demand for a company's products and services to oversee social media pages and marketing campaigns. According to the BLS, employment of marketing managers is projected to grow by 14 percent between 2010 and 2020.

There are many more careers and jobs a new media graduate may be qualified to apply for. By attaining skills in communication and the use of technology, there's no telling what kind of cool job you could end up with. Gaining excellent social media skills for your own online presence could be an added benefit of a new media degree program.

Regardless of how you use it, a new media degree can prepare you for this new wave of media, which you're bound to interact with in one way or another.