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JEM Launches New Major Concentrations, New Minors


The School of Journalism and Electronic Media has added four new concentrations to its major and two new minors starting in fall 2022. The new concentrations are: creative media, news, science communication, and sports communication. The new minors are: digital media and broadcast meteorology—the latter of which is offered in collaboration with the Department of Geography.

 “The new concentrations are designed to provide students with an opportunity to develop important areas of expertise in our fields,” JEM School Director and Professor Catherine Luther said. “While the concentrations are predominately made up of existing courses, they provide focused pathways for our students and provide them with a better understanding of how the courses are interconnected.”

JEM Associate Professor Erin Whiteside, who will take a leading role in teaching in the sports communication concentration, shares, “The concentrations bring into focus our vision and what we communicate and emphasize about our program, what we do well, and where we are headed as a school.” Whiteside said many students and prospective students think they have an idea of what journalism is but don’t always understand the school’s “electronic media” offerings. Majoring with a concentration in creative media, for example, can lead to careers in social media strategy, television production, or work in various capacities at places such as Warner Bros. Discovery, she said.

As for the two new minors, Luther said faculty realized the school needed practice-oriented minors, and began looking at what would provide the most benefits to non-majors. JEM Assistant Professor Mustafa Oz is the faculty member who saw value in creating the digital media minor and led the effort in its creation. 

“It essentially helps non-majors get a sense of what is important in digital media now, so it incorporates promotion, some digital content, analytics, and entrepreneurship. I think all industries have to get involved in some way, shape or form in digital media, and the courses in this minor teach students how to communicate with various stakeholders,” Luther said.

The initial idea for the broadcast meteorology minor came from JEM alumnus Heather Haley, who is the chief meteorologist for local Knoxville television news station WVLT. Heather is on the JEM Alumni Advisory Board and brought up the idea at one of the board meetings. From there Luther connected with Geography Associate Professor Kelsey Ellis to create the minor with faculty input from both majors. “If the new minor proves to be of great interest to students, we are thinking that it might lead to building a new interdisciplinary major in that area,” Luther said.

Students and prospective students interested in pursuing any of these new concentrations or minors can contact the Center for Undergraduate Programs and Advising via email at or by calling (865) 974-3603.