PR Student: Shelley Safaee
This article was produced in cooperation with the COMMS 425 lab.
Winter is almost here, which means scores of skiers from around the world are about to hit the Utah slopes for the season. During the 2017 winter semester, Joshua Landon and Alexis Erickson decided to capture the stories of some of these winter sports fans for their news media capstone project. While these students loved their experience, the important part wasn’t just telling stories, it was gaining skills for their careers.
Creating the Connection
Landon, now a BYU alum, said the skills he learned from his capstone project have been beneficial throughout his career. Landon currently works for Lava Surf, a social media marketing company located in the Silicon Slopes of Utah. As part of his job responsibilities, Landon conducts social media management campaigns and uses the Adobe creative suite, using skills he began developing in the news media program at BYU.
Landon explained the BYU news media program also taught him how to glean valuable information from an interview. “I learned how to get good answers out of people, rather than just the typical yes or no answers.”
While working on their capstone project, Landon and Erickson spent hours researching and tracking down skiers on Reddit. After researching the skiers’ stories, the students contacted the athletes for interviews and set up meetings on the mountain.
Applying the Arlberg Technique to News Media
Landon also said the news media program taught him videography and how to edit film to produce a professional documentary.
“There is so much you can learn that can be applied in so many different ways,” Landon said. The documentary “The Life of a Ski Bum” highlights technical angles of skiers as they glide through fresh powder. Although the documentary has been published for less than a year, it already has more than 4,000 views on YouTube.
Capstones: Obtaining the End of the Graduated Length Method
In the BYU School of Communications, all students are required to complete an internship and capstone course. These experiential learning opportunities exist not only to give students real world experience, but also to help students develop writing and professional communication skills that will make them marketable in the workforce.
Landon recommended students apply the skills they learn during their education throughout all aspects of their lives. “Find a way to use what you’ve learned to bring about change wherever you decide to go,” Landon said. “[It] doesn’t need to be within journalism, or ad, or public relations. What you learn can be so beneficial wherever you end up.”