Students learn about the future of news with social media minor


Students may know how to post on social media sites, but now they will learn to use social media effectively in the mass communication field.

For the first time, South Dakota State University is offering a social media minor. According to the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, SDSU is one of the only institutions in South Dakota that offers one.

There are only four classes for the minor, and one of them offered for the first time this fall is writing for social media. Students in the class are challenged by writing for the Brookings Register and working as the social media team for the news outlet.  

“Social media is now incorporated into so many different avenues, it is a must for news organizations, and it’s also really a must for strategic communicators from public relations and advertising,” said Teri Finneman, assistant professor in the department.

She said students need to think critically and in short messages for social media platforms. By doing this, news organizations could have a much larger audience and watch who sees these messages.

By having her students be the social media team for the Brookings Register, it allows them to practice and gain more experience. Instead of these organizations training students on how to use social media when they enter the workforce, these classes will prepare students for journalism careers focusing on social media.

“When you have a billion people on Facebook you can’t afford to ignore people on social media,” Finneman said. “When you see an amazing climb in users of Snapchat with the Millennial and Generation-Z generations, these are platforms that need to be taken seriously as communication tools.”

Students use Snapchat and Facebook Live to create visual stories for events. The social media minor not only focuses on writing but on videos and pictures that appear on the internet as well.

The class focuses on deciding which platform is best for different stories and how to get the news to the viewers. 

Kayla Justen, junior advertising major, said the social media minor is a “hands-on experience.”

Justen is currently enrolled in two of the four classes needed for the minor, but she hopes to complete the minor in the future.

“I have always been active in social media from a young age, and the analytics side of social media posts has always been an interest of mine,” Justen said. “Social media marketing is a new and growing field and I am thankful our university acknowledges changes within the advertising, marketing and journalism fields.”