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Communication: more than writing

“A communication major is the easy way out.”

This is a phrase Brittany Terry, a sophomore studying communication, hears all too often. She feels that communication is vital and has aspirations of advertising for small businesses.

“I don’t think they realize how important communication careers are in our society,” Terry said.

According to their website, BYU-Idaho’s Communication Department has several goals for their students. These goals include developing effective written and verbal communication skills, using research and analysis to develop solutions, becoming leaders, and creating messages and presenting them in the desired setting.

Andrea Meyer, a communication professor, had dreams of studying vulcanology but went with her second choice: journalism. She said it turned out to be the best choice for her.

“The thing that was great about communication and doing journalism was that I learned how to communicate and how to write really well in a bunch of different situations,” Meyer said.

Career opportunities are broad when it comes to communication. The Department of Communication offers six different emphases: digital and social media, news/journalism, public relations, strategic organizational communication, video production and visual communication.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the communication field is growing. The bureau reported that the job outlook for Technical Writers and Public Relations are both projected to grow by 7%, and Film and Video Editors are projected to grow by 18%. All three of these are growing faster than average.

According to the BYU-I website, the digital and social media emphasis prepares students to work as social media specialists, coordinators, strategists or managers. Students will learn about content creation, analysis and using data to measure effectiveness.

News/journalism prepares students to become reporters, editors, journalists and content creators. This is an ever-changing field, and BYU-I aims to give students real-world experience through practicums.

Public relations students will learn how to anticipate, analyze and interpret public opinion. These skills help influence public opinion, and most organizations have a need to get their message or products out.

Strategic organizational communication students will prepare to work in teams, organizations and communities when they graduate with this degree. Some of the top skills students gain in this emphasis are becoming strategic thinkers, innovators and problem solvers. As it says on the website, this emphasis is a great option for those thinking about graduate school.

Video production and visual communication prepare and train students on creating legal and ethical content. Students learn how to communicate through visual skills. The skills learned in this emphasis are commonly found in advertising, motion graphics, photography, web design and more.

“It all comes down to the same thing: how do we report meaning to each other as human beings?” said Cameron Robins, a communication professor. “If we come together, we can end up with something even better — that is communication. The ability to communicate as human beings is honestly what gives us divine attributes.”

No matter the emphasis, a communication degree arms students with a myriad of skills. A public relations emphasis can work for a large corporation that sells vehicles or a small non-profit working towards better education. A journalist could work for a well-known newspaper or a small and specifically focused magazine.

A degree in communication helps individuals refine their skills in many different areas. It helps build creativity and innovation. Ultimately, it helps convey a message.

“This moment where you connect with another human being and find something in common; it’s unique, it’s special,” Robins said. “It just makes you feel good.”


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