Jenna Dutcher

Jenna Dutcher

Journalism Innovation

Marketing Manager, RightEye

Why did you apply to the online M.S. in Communications from Syracuse University?

I put the idea of earning a master’s degree on hold while I settled in my career because I did not want to quit my job and uproot my life in order to pursue my education. As soon as I heard that the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications was launching an online program that was immediately relevant to my job, I knew I had to sign up. This degree is directly related to what I do now, but will also prepare me for what I want to do in the future. In fact, I requested information the first day the site went live and completed my application within a few weeks; I really wanted to be part of the first cohort. When an opportunity like this comes along, there’s no point in hesitating.

What excites you most about starting your master’s degree?

The coursework for the online M.S. in Communications looks phenomenal. I’m especially excited about Data-Driven Journalism and Emerging Media Platforms, which are two courses that will particularly help me in my current role. Since being admitted, however, I’ve realized that one of the biggest benefits of this program is my classmates. The other students that I’ve now talked to on 2SU (the online learning management system) are so intelligent and diverse in their backgrounds that I can’t imagine we won’t learn a bunch from one another. I’m also excited to tap into the Newhouse Network; if my 30-person cohort is this impressive, can you imagine what we can do with access to thousands of similar people all willing to pick up the phone when we call?

What is your intended specialization and why?

Each of the specializations seems like it could add to my skillset in a great way, but when I look at the work I do now and what I want to do in the long term, journalism innovation was the clear winner. The specific coursework will help me gain skills that many journalists don’t have (like data-driven journalism) and keep me on the cutting edge of content (with emerging media platforms). Even courses like Web and Mobile Story Production will help me stay current in my job as our sites tackle things like Google’s Mobilegeddon. Add these together with the core courses like Social Media for Public Communicators and Multimedia Storytelling, and a master’s from Newhouse will leave me well-positioned to compete in digital journalism, both in current and future roles.

What are your career aspirations upon graduation?

This degree will situate me well to tackle new challenges as we innovate content on the program blogs, taking on new CMS systems, mobile updates and developing content that makes a lasting impression on our audiences. In the long term, I’d love to be working in science communications, doing content marketing for a popular science outlet like Discovery, Smithsonian, AAAS and their ilk. This would allow me to combine my background in science, my interest in content and inbound marketing, and the skills I’ll learn in this master’s degree to be an effective journalist in an area I’m passionate about.

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