Social media offers more job options for journalism grads

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BYU journalism student Aley Davis works at Wallaroo Media as an account manager. Davis said she has a passion for telling stories and believes social media plays a big role in a journalist’s career. (Ryan Turner)

The social media industry is expanding, increasing available jobs for journalism graduates.

An article published in the Indian Journal of Applied Research in December 2016 argues social media is important in the world of communications.

The article states “journalists have begun to use these sites as alternative platforms for news delivery and dissemination. An obvious reason for journalists doing so is the broad audience social networking sites have.”

Brooke Porter graduated from BYU in April 2016 with a degree in broadcast journalism in hopes of becoming a television news reporter. Little did she know her path would soon take her in a different direction.

Porter interned with Provo digital marketing agency Wallaroo Media during her last semester at BYU and soon after accepted a job offer from the company.

The opportunity for a flexible lifestyle outside of work appealed to Porter, even though she was still interested in news reporting. Porter is currently the director of communications at Wallaroo Media and enjoys the benefits of this type of job in social media and digital marketing, such as regular hours and holidays.

Porter said she does miss some aspects of broadcast journalism, including its unpredictability — something not as prevalent in digital marketing.

“I am still very passionate about the news and still try to stay as up to date on it as possible. I doubt that will ever change,” Porter said. “I love being informed. I love asking questions. I love learning people’s stories and I love telling them.”

BYU broadcast journalism student Aley Davis works at Wallaroo Media as an account manager. She helps clients develop online marketing strategies by writing blog posts, creating social campaigns and interpreting campaign results, among other tasks.

Davis said she believes social media will play a significant role in the future as it allows people to connect and share feelings, experiences and ideas.

Starting salaries in the social media industry may be higher than those of news reporters, according to Davis. Payscale.com also provides data that suggests salaries for jobs in social media are generally higher than those of journalism jobs.

Social media is an important aspect of a journalist’s career, since most people get their news from Facebook or Twitter, according to Davis. She said she believes no journalist can survive without social media because it can become a platform for their reporting.

Davis said she considers social media a valuable asset for journalists, but does not plan to give up on traditional journalism entirely. Although she may be working in social media now, Davis said her heart lies with broadcast journalism.

“I have a real passion for talking to people and I love to tell a good story,” Davis said. “I feel so energized jumping in my car not knowing exactly where I’m going or who I might interview to find ‘the story.’ It’s an active, exciting career that leaves me feeling productive, creative and happy.”

Stuart Dean is the Executive Vice President of sales and business development at NUVI, a Lehi-based social media marketing company.

Dean said his sector has not seen a shift of broadcast journalists transitioning into social media fields.

“NUVI is a social media listening software platform. Social media listening and engagement is becoming more and more vital for PR, marketing, customer service and many other corporate objectives,” Dean said.

Wallaroo Media CEO and founder Brandon Doyle recommends those interested in working in social media find a company that needs help on social media and managing their accounts for free.

Doyle also said it would be beneficial to build and manage personal accounts to eventually reach a large following with significant engagement. These achievements will help when applying for jobs, according to Doyle.

“The industry is growing rapidly because that’s where the advertising dollars are going. Everything is moving from print to digital, jobs included,” Doyle said. “That’s why I think broadcast journalism students are gravitating here as well. Some of our best employees have been journalism students.”

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