Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia is the first institution in the Southeastern Conference to offer an undergraduate certificate in sports media, following University Council approval on Feb. 19.
The certificate will be offered by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. Aimed at preparing students for careers in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports communications, the program will be led by veteran sports journalist Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and Society.
“Sports offers our students an ideal venue for so many career paths,” said Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College. “Sport is culture, sport is business and sport is news. This interdisciplinary certificate is an enormous step forward for the sports journalism program, which we see as a real opportunity moving forward.”
The certificate program, open to all UGA undergraduates, will train students to report and produce sports stories in the digital age. They will learn on a multitude of platforms, from text to social media to audio and video.
Experiential learning will be a core value, with UGA’s sports programs, the Athens area’s prep sports scene and Atlanta’s professional sports teams comprising a real-world classroom.
In addition, Grady Sports Media students will explore the role of sports in cultural and societal issues such as race, gender, politics, health and economics.
“We really want students to start thinking about sports beyond the scores and the statistics because there is so much more underneath those layers that you need to know as a sports journalist,” said Michaelis, who worked as a sports reporter for two decades, including 12 years as USA Today’s lead Olympics writer. “Like all journalists, they need to have a very ethical foundation. They need to have a good sense of where journalism is at this point in its progression.”
The program will officially launch in fall 2014. Some courses have been taught already on a pilot basis, so the program could award its first certificates to graduates in spring 2015.
“We are absolutely thrilled about this certificate,” said Janice Hume, head of the department of journalism. “It is innovative and rigorous, and students are already lining up to participate. I can’t wait for the first wave of Grady Sports Media graduates to get out there and start covering important sports stories in all sorts of interesting ways.”
Michaelis and Welch Suggs, an associate professor of journalism, developed a six-course curriculum of 18 credit hours, making the Grady certificate the most in-depth sports media program in the country.
Students will take two topics courses to develop strong content knowledge and four skills-based courses to learn the mechanics of sports media as well as professional practices and issues. For course descriptions, see http://grady.uga.edu/news/view/grady_college_adds_sports_media_certificate_to_curriculum.
UGA Grady College
Established in 1915, the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication offers undergraduate majors in journalism, advertising, public relations, digital and broadcast journalism and mass media arts. The college offers two graduate degrees, and is home to the Peabody Awards, internationally recognized as one of the most prestigious prizes for excellence in electronic media.