Department of Mass Communication


Jean Bodon


The mission of the Mass Communication Department at Sam Houston State University is to prepare professionals to work in the fields of Mass Communication, including Journalism, Broadcasting, Advertising, Public Relations, and Film. The Department promotes clear and effective communication, intellectual curiosity, strategic thinking, and independent learning skills through a focus on critical thinking, writing, technology, and the ethical and legal aspects of mass communication.

Contact Information
(936) 294-1341
Dan Rather Communications Building 123

Department of Mass Communication


Digital Media

The MA program in Digital Media offers a choice between digital media production and digital media studies. The digital media production emphasis is designed for students who want to create and manage digital media projects, and the digital media studies emphasis is designed for students who want to research and understand digital media.

Digital Media Production

Students explore the digital combination of text, graphics, audio, and video into engaging stories and interactive environments. Students learn advanced production practices needed to work in executive management and upper-level reporter, producer, filmmaker, and creative manager media positions.

Digital Media Studies

Students apply mass communication research methods and theories to the study of digital media. Students learn how to critically reflect on digital media practices, audiences, law, policy, and products leading to continued studies at the PhD level or to teach at the college level.

Graduate Certificate in Health Communication and Public Relations

This interdisciplinary certificate program is aimed primarily at post-baccalaureate students interested in developing expertise in health-related communication as it applies in both academic and non-academic settings. Health communication specialists help individuals and communities understand topics, such as medical treatment, health lifestyle choices, disease prevention, new product development and government policies. They focus primarily on disseminating information that impacts health and well-being.

This certificate is offered as a collaboration of the departments of Mass Communication, Population Health, and Sociology.

Graduate Assistantships

The Department of Mass Communication offers competitive graduate assistantships each year for students who are accepted into the program. Teaching assistantships are also available for students who have completed 18 credit hours of graduate course work. All students who have demonstrated distinguished academic performance may apply for a graduate assistantship. All assistantships require students to work 20 hours per week. To apply, please, fill out the Application Form and submit the required materials described therein by March 23 for the Fall semester. For information about the stipend and the application process, contact Dr. Robin Johnson, Graduate Studies Coordinator at or 936-294-1499.

MCOM 5050. Special Topic. 1-3 Hours.

This research course offers special topics based upon new concepts developing in digital media. The specific research topic title appears in the Class Schedule and on student transcripts.
Prerequisite: Department approval.

MCOM 5099. Independent Study. 1-3 Hours.

MCOM 5300. Digital Media History & Theory. 3 Hours.

This course outlines the history and theory of new media from aesthetic, reception, production, media effects, cultural, and political perspectives. Students will explore cross-disciplinary theoretical approaches and apply them to new media and their impact on cultural production.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 5308. Digital Entrepreneurship. 3 Hours.

This course leverages digital technologies to teach students how to create commercial production opportunities, disseminate information, and collaborate with clients and partners. This emerging area of study includes the development of new business models comprised of information brokers, internet advertisers, licensing and legal issues, E-trailers and E-consumers.
Prerequisite: Departmental approval.

MCOM 5310. Critical Approaches to Media. 3 Hours.

This course explores the growing body of critical and theoretical discourse defining the field of digital media studies. Students examine the major historical, cultural, sociopolitical, economic, structural, and philosophical trends in this field. Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program .

MCOM 5314. Strategic PR&Advert-Healthcare. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on strategic communication concepts and tactics specifically for healthcare organizations. Students learn to identify effective strategies and tactics to reach and persuade specific audiences, using social media, direct marketing, sales and promotion, and advertising.
Prerequisite: Graduate admission.

MCOM 5320. Digital Media Ethics and Law. 3 Hours.

This course examines ethical and legal concepts as they apply to various forms of electronic media expression, with special focus on digital media and Internet-based expression. Free speech, open records, privacy, libel, copyright and obscenity laws are reviewed in the context of the digital environment.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 5324. Social Marketing. 3 Hours.

This course explores the principles of social marketing, which uses commercial marketing techniques to motivate behavioral and social change. Students critically examine social change initiatives that target deeply held beliefs and personal behaviours resistant to change. They learn techniques for using social marketing to improve a social good, such as individual health, the environment, or the community.
Prerequisite: Graduate admission.

MCOM 5330. Advanced Digital Writing. 3 Hours.

This course enables students to develop competency in narrative techniques and information delivery for different genres, distribution platforms, and audiences. Emphasis is placed on digital media technologies and the demands of writing for video, social media, multimedia production, digital sound and live performance.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 5340. Social Media. 3 Hours.

This course is both theoretical and practical, drawing from the literature of social networks and community to explore online social media. Students learn how to develop strategies to effectively communicate and collaborate with their audience through current social media platforms. Emphasis is placed on the media professional's use and understanding of social media.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 5360. Mass Communication Theory. 3 Hours.

This course addresses the history and development of mass communication theory. Theoretical approaches, models and application of theories are examined.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 6098. Thesis. 1-3 Hours.

Students work under faculty supervision to produce a scholarly thesis of original work about digital media approved by all members of the student's thesis committee.
Prerequisite: Approval of committee chair.

MCOM 6099. Thesis Project. 1-3 Hours.

Students work under faculty supervision to produce a thesis project of original work in digital media approved by all members of the student's thesis committee.
Prerequisite: Approval of committee chair.

MCOM 6300. Advanced Preproduction. 3 Hours.

This course introduces students to advanced sound production, lighting, and other preproduction techniques combined with narrative storytelling using digital videography. Each student produces and formats high-quality videos for digital distribution, including high definition output and online streaming.
Prerequisite: MCOM 5320.

MCOM 6310. Advanced Multimedia Production. 3 Hours.

This course focuses on interactive multimedia production and narrative development for the web and other interactive media, using current authoring software. Students learn to create narratives using interactive design, content creation, authoring, scripting and publishing for the web. Special emphasis is placed on the development of long-form interactive stories.
Prerequisite: MCOM 5330 or departmental approval.

MCOM 6320. Documentary Scriptwriting. 3 Hours.

This course takes a creative and systematic approach to transforming ideas into effective scripts for corporate, medical, religious, educational and governmental videos. Students learn and apply techniques for communicating visually, writing for the ear, using drama and humor, and applying documentary genre structures in various disciplines and for media platforms.
Prerequisite: MCOM 5330.

MCOM 6330. Digital Editing. 3 Hours.

Students study the creative and aesthetic qualities of editing film and video. Students learn to edit for both narrative and documentary styles including computer-generated imagery, sound design, color correction, mood and rhythm.
Prerequisite: Department approval.

MCOM 6340. Digital Entrepreneurship. 3 Hours.

This course examines how new media tools are used to create commercial opportunities and assist in the dissemination of information in both digital and traditional media outlets. Students will explore and apply entrepreneurial principles to create new media business ventures.
Prerequisite: Admission to graduate program.

MCOM 6350. Narrative Scriptwriting. 3 Hours.

This course addresses the art and craft of narrative scriptwriting for digital media. Students develop narratives through the creation and building of characters and using dramatic principles such as scene setting, plotting, sequencing.
Prerequisite: MCOM 5330.

MCOM 6354. Virtual Internship. 3 Hours.

This internship takes place in an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)-supported environment, where students carry out identifiable and meaningful work-based tasks that fit within the student?s educational curriculum. Interns contribute to projects while working remotely, meaning the majority of their interactions with co-workers, clients and supervisors are carried out online.
Prerequisite: Permission of Instructor.

MCOM 6360. Mass Comm Research Methods. 3 Hours.

This course integrates an understanding and application of research methods to develop the ability to produce research in an academic environment and in the profession associated with mass communication fields. Students use and understand the processes and interpret the statistics that bring rigorous data to the research process. Students design, administer and critically evaluate a personal behavioral research project.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

MCOM 6373. Digital Video Production. 3 Hours.

This course emphasizes advanced applications of digital editing and visual storytelling. Through the creation and production of programming for Cable Channel 7, experienced student digital filmmakers increase aesthetic and technical proficiency in advanced video camera operation, lighting, and video editing methods.
Prerequisite: Department approval.

Chair: Jean Richard R Bodon

Jean Richard R Bodon, PHD, Professor and Chair of Mass Communication, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, Florida State University; MA, Univ of Akron; BA, Birmingham-Southern College

Janet A Bridges, PHD, Professor of Journalism, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, Michigan State University; MA, Southern Illinois U-Carbondale; BA, The University of Memphis

Robin Scott Johnson, PHD, Associate Professor of Mass Communication, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, University of Iowa; MA, Univ of Colorado; BSJ, Univ of Colorado

Nam Young Kim, PHD, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, LSU AM College; MA, Penn State Un-Univ Park; MAC, Sookmyung Women's University; BA, Sookmyung Women's University

Ruth E. Massingill, PHD, Associate Professor of Journalism, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, Teesside University; MA, Univ of Wyoming; BA, Southwestern University; BA, Southwestern University

Christopher White, PHD, Associate Professor of Radio-Television, Department of Mass Communication, PHD, Univ of Texas At Austin; MA, Univ of Texas At Austin; BA, Lake Forest College