The Department of Journalism and Media Studies will introduce a social media minor in Fall 2020

New Mexico State University’s Department of Journalism and Media Studies will create a new social media minor for students to choose from next fall semester.

Hwiman Chung, head of the journalism department, explained his reasoning behind forming the new miner.

“I was in charge of creating the minor because social media is a very important medium for all students,” Chung said. “My plan is to have social media management as a common core course for students.”

Chung expressed the importance of social media for the branch of media studies.

“Journalism is about writing and reporting facts, but in media studies we do all kinds of media-related communications. We have public relations, statistical communication and publicity,” Chung said. “As such, social media is becoming a very important medium to use. That is why in this country universities are trying to offer more social media courses.

Social media, according to Chung, is a useful medium used in various ways by journalists and media scholars. In journalism, for example, the medium is used to “spread news,” Chung said.

“But mostly I want to focus on public relations and statistical communications,” Chung said. “Social media is really great for reaching individuals. This is why the public opinion, the political side and the communications use social media as a main tool to promote the dissemination of news.

With the presence of social media, there is a wider range of possible communications between individuals. Chung noted that the current revolutionary use of the medium can be linked to “the arrival of television in the 1950s”.

“Situationally, it’s a bit different, but the importance of media is, I think, becoming more important than TV,” Chung said. “Because this generation doesn’t watch TV. You do everything on social media.

In an article written by The New York Times in 2017 regarding their plans for 2020, seven New York Times reporters expressed pride in their newsroom serving as the “first subscription business.” With this responsibility, The Times uses social media and media platforms to distribute its articles to subscribers.

With social media becoming an innovative tool for journalists and media specialists, Chung thinks the university would benefit from creating courses that teach students about its benefits and uses.

“Once we hire more faculty, we will offer social media analytics and social media insights. With these two classes, we are thinking of making it a ‘G’ [general education] class on the road. It will take some time, but I believe we have to do it in some sense,” Chung said. “This way, the university can have more diverse ‘G’ communication courses, and students have the flexibility to choose from a variety of courses in this category.”

According to Chung, the provision of a new social media minor will benefit the journalism and media studies department by “attracting more students and faculty.” He will also stress the importance of “individualized communication rather than mass communication”.

“I believe it will increase the number of students and generate more interest among students in terms of media communication,” Chung said.

The Department of Journalism and Media Studies is currently working to revamp the program, so the social media minor won’t be available until the fall semester, according to Chung.