Duquesne JMA to launch new Sports Information and Media major

Olivia Higgins|Staff Photographer  A flyer for the new JMA major hangs on a corkboard in College Hall. The Sports Information and Media major is projected to launch starting in the Fall 2017 semester.

Olivia Higgins|Staff Photographer
A flyer for the new JMA major hangs on a corkboard in College Hall. The Sports Information and Media major is projected to launch starting in the Fall 2017 semester.

Liza Zulick | Staff Writer

Duquesne’s Journalism and Multimedia Arts (JMA) department is launching a new Sports Information and Media major, minor and certificate for the Fall 2017 semester. Available to current and future students, the new major uses all of the same university cores as JMA and adds new, required sports media classes.

JMA professors Robert Healy and Robert Bellamy created this new major from courses that are already offered on campus. All of the university core classes are the same as the JMA classes, and other sports media classes will be required.

Sports journalism, sports public relations and a wide variety of careers could come from this new major.

“This undergraduate program within the Journalism and Multimedia Arts Department prepares students for careers in sports media and/or public relations, including the sportswriting, sportscasting and job-rich ‘sports information’ fields, among others,” Healy said.

So far, the program has been approved by James Swindal, dean of the McAnulty School of Liberal Arts, but has not yet been presented to the college council yet, which will happen in early March.

The major is unique — if approved, it will be the first program in the area.

“We always want to go where the media is going and where the media jobs are going. This department is always active because the media changes quickly,” said Mike Dillon, chair of the JMA department. “We’re in a sports-mad town and no one else in the area is offering a program like this.”

Courses taken from Journalism Multimedia Arts and Public Relations will also be required for Sports Information and Media. Media Literacy, New Media Production, Media Ethics and Media Law and Regulation will remain the university core classes all students must take.

To major in this program, nine other classes will be required, such as Multiplatform Newsroom, Sports Reporting I: Sportscasting, Sports Reporting II: Sports Writing and Sports Media Practices.

“This is an intensive program. With the students who go through it and really commit to it, we feel confident of [their] employment opportunities,” Bellamy said. “A lot of students lack these basic concepts once they step into the door, but [the new major will] focus on real life job practices.”

Internships will also be a big part of the program, according to Healy and Bellamy. With internships right on campus for Duquesne’s Division I athletic programs, as well as with professional sports such as the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins, Healy said there are many opportunities for students in the major.

“It is such a job-rich field and we have the courses that [will] result in real world portfolio pieces that would make those students very attractive in public relations and sports journalism,” Healy said.

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