Monday, December 5, 2016

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Digital media skills are increasingly in demand in the media industry. Photo by: Roberto Ferrari Digital media skills are increasingly in demand in the media industry. Photo by: Roberto Ferrari

Digital and Social Media Collaborative Launches

The new collaborative will offer experts, workshops and symposia, and promote research in digital and social media.

San Diego State University announces the launch of the SDSU Digital and Social Media Collaborative, a unique joint effort to foster a multimedia-savvy work force in the San Diego region.

The collaborative is the collective brainchild of three campus units, including the:

  • College of Extended Studies
  • School of Journalism and Media Studies
  • College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

It has been designed to expand upon the academic, professional and community services provided through the university’s highly successful digital media certificate program, now entering its fifth semester.

“The new collaborative will allow the university to expand its community course offerings, partner with professional experts to offer workshops and symposia in digital and social media, and promote research in digital and social media,” said Joyce Gattas, dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts.

Joe Shapiro, dean of the College of Extended Studies, said, “As the demand for skills in digital and social media continues to grow, SDSU has positioned itself to become the region’s established leader in multimedia education and training.”

“SDSU Digimedia,” as the new collaborative is called, was created on a platform of collaborative learning and networking. Part of the collaborative’s mission is to provide increasing, state-of-the-art opportunities for communication professionals in a variety of fields to refine and refresh their digital and social media job skills, and to provide both a physical and a virtual place to discuss trends and opportunities for students and for the region’s communication leaders.

To kick off the collaborative, the second annual San Diego Social Media Symposium will take place on Friday, Jan. 28, at the Parma Payne Goodall Alumni Center on the SDSU campus.

The sold-out symposium — presented by Nuffer, Smith, Tucker Public Relations and the SDSU Digital and Social Media Collaborative — is designed to stimulate conversations about emerging trends, platforms and technologies in the social media landscape. The event will feature social media pioneer Peter Shankman as the keynote speaker and will offer panel discussions with media professionals from a variety of local organizations, including:

  • Sharp Hospital
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • San Diego Symphony
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Stone Brewing Co.
  • San Diego Chargers

Growing job market for multimedia skills

The demand for employees with multimedia skills will continue to grow as more companies begin to engage in social and digital media, researchers suggest.

According to an evidence-based study conducted by public relations firm Burson-Marsteller, about 65 percent of the top 100 global companies have a Twitter account, 54 percent have Facebook fan pages, 50 percent have YouTube channels and 33 percent have a corporate blog.

Diane L. Borden, director of the SDSU School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS), added that students also understand the need to acquire strong digital and social media skills.

“A recent survey of students in our degree programs in journalism, public relations, media studies and advertising indicated that an overwhelming majority of these students desired even more instruction in Photoshop, Web design, audio and sound-slides production, video production and editing, search engine optimization and use of social media in professional settings,” Borden said.

“As part of the collaborative, we are working with the College of Extended Studies to design ways to expand and enhance courses, programs, workshops and symposiums in these areas.”

Collaborative leaders Rebecca Coates Nee and Nicole Vargas-Viglotti, who also serve as lecturers in the School of JMS, have created a website to announce and discuss the latest digital and social media initiatives at SDSU and to serve as a virtual gathering place for current and past students of the digital media certificate program.  The website also contains recent academic research about digital media, as well as stories, essays, reports and blogs about the most-talked about issues in the digital and social media arena.

Professional symposiums

The collaborative is also involved in partnering with local professionals to present skill-specific seminars designed to enhance multimedia knowledge in the local community. Instructors in the digital media program, for example, trained reporters from seven public broadcast stations across the Southwest, including KPBS FM/TV/Online, to help launch the Fronteras border-reporting project. Fronteras reporters are using digital and social media to engage new audiences, while telling stories that highlight the impact of border issues on the region.

Professional Certificate in Digital Media

For professionals seeking to advance their careers, the Digital and Social Media Collaborative offers the chance to earn a Professional Certificate in Digital Media. Students of the certificate program receive a broad-based education in digital and social media, useful in any workplace. The certificate can be earned by successfully completing five of the following courses:

  • Publishing on the Web
  • Beginning Social Media
  • Advanced Social Media
  • Increasing Traffic to your Website
  • Photo Editing with Photoshop
  • Audio and Slideshow Production
  • Video Production for the Web I
  • Video Production for the Web II

Nee, the certificate program adviser, said she believes that professionals in journalism, public relations, corporate communications, advertising and marketing who understand how to use these media to engage stakeholders will have great value in the workplace.

“All communication professionals are expected to have a basic understanding of and familiarity with digital and social media skills in today's work environment,” Nee said. “The courses we offer go beyond just the basics. People who complete the professional certificate will have a definite advantage in the job market because of the current and emerging digital skills they will gain in the classes.”