To accompany its new name, the Bloomsburg University Media & Journalism department (formerly known as Mass Communications) is offering a new minor in Public Relations. This program expansion was a result of collaboration between Dr. Kristie Byrum, Dr. Richard Ganahl, and other Media & Journalism faculty in the hopes of giving the student body another avenue to incorporate strategic thinking, communication and media skills into their education.
What does the minor entail?
According to the Public Relations Society of America, the practice of public relations is “a strategic communications process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.” The discipline is often compared to advertising, journalism, and marketing, and channels aspects of all three areas of study in some way.
Required courses for the new minor include Introduction to Media & Journalism, Public Relations: Theory and Practice, Public Relations: Tactics, and a combination of media production and real-world application courses. Students may even opt to complete an internship in place of a traditional three-credit class towards the minor.
Why minor in Public Relations?
Since Dr. Kristie Byrum (a Fellow PRSA and APR) started teaching at Bloomsburg in 2014, she had hoped the department would implement a PR minor due to the discipline’s wide range of transferable skills and its ability to pair well with an abundance of majors and other minors.
The topics covered in many public relations classes include: strategic planning, research, various types of written and oral communication, and a combination of methodology and application. Classes will focus on communications globally, in local communities, crisis communication, and more.
Dr. Byrum recommends the minor no matter your industry of choice, as the curriculum covers a broad range of skills. “These are all things employers are looking for.”
How to determine if PR is a good fit for you:
Any combination of majors and minors can be beneficial depending on your specific career goals. But in general, Dr. Byrum notes that public relations often complements majors in the College of Business, Political Science, Sociology, and many other College of Liberal Arts majors well.
If you’re interested in getting a taste of the program before committing to the minor, Media 251 (Public Relations: Theory and Practice) is a great class to take. “It really sets the landscape for the minor,” says Dr. Byrum.
Interested in the subject but not sure if you have room for the courses in your class schedule? The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) is a club open to any student interested in learning more about public relations and getting hands-on experience outside of the classroom. There are no requirements to become a member and meetings are held every Monday at 7 p.m. via Zoom. If you are interested in joining, feel free to email the club President at email@example.com.
If you have any questions or would like to set up a meeting for more information about the minor, contact Liz Stauder, the Media & Journalism secretary, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Students can also feel free to reach out directly to Dr. Byrum at email@example.com.