As part of the program curriculum, students are asked to engage in original research on a subject relevant to new and emerging media. Many take the opportunity to develop a final capstone project, in which students work closely with an advisor to present their findings in a format of their choosing or to develop a project in which they demonstrate their proficiency using new and emerging media.
The capstone projects of recent alumni demonstrate the application of emerging media for various organizations and new research in the use of digital media.
Dena Lorenzi, M.A. ’15 – Faith in Fashion
How do you take two disparate ideas and combine them into one successful social media marketing practice? For Dena Lorenzi, this was a no-brainer. She had a keen interest in social media and a deep interest in faith-based marketing. To that end, Dena created the Faith In Fashion campaign for her capstone project in the Loyola University Emerging Media Masters program. As with all good communication campaigns, Dena’s started with a vision – to provide the best-in-class marketing communications counsel and services to her clients. She developed a full-blown strategy for her burgeoning consulting practice that upon execution met or exceeded all of her KPIs. In addition to developing social media properties on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, Dena created her own website. She became an active publisher on LinkedIn and self-published on her own website in order to effectively reach her target personas. By the end of her campaign, Dena acquired almost 1000 followers on her Twitter feed, she obtained a Klout score of 49, and her Google Analytics showed a very low bounce rate.
Zach Spedden, M.A. ’15 – The Hagerstown Suns
When you think about baseball, perhaps what first comes to mind are major league teams in major metropolitan areas – the big leagues. But what about minor league baseball teams in more rural areas? How do such teams overcome the problem of attracting audiences, even when their team has won back-to-back championships? Zach Spedden faced such a challenge as student in Loyola’s Emerging Media masters program in his social media campaign on behalf of the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball team. After conducting extensive primary research he was able to determine two key groups with whom he needed to communicate. To put it simply: there were older fans who had been attending games fairly regularly and a cohort of younger fans for whom the campaign had to spark interest. In other words, the goal of the campaign was to energize the fan base. To that end, Zach developed hashtag campaigns that were directed toward each of these groups. Using hashtags allowed Zach to measure the degree of success of his campaign. The ultimate measure of the campaign’s success was an 11% increase in attendance from the previous season.
Christine Kempf, M.A. ’15 – The Maryland Democratic Party
Politics, for lack of a better term, are Christine’s cup of tea. In her capstone project in Loyola University’s Emerging Media masters program she did an analysis of social media strategies for the Maryland Democratic Party. She conducted extensive research with state and local party officials to develop a better understanding of social media use among different groups – statewide and local – regarding the use of new media. She conducted an extensive media audit for the Democratic Party to assess the various platforms they currently under-utilized. As a result of her communication audit, Christine was able to develop a series of recommendations regarding how the Democratic Party could more effectively utilize new media in order to better reach their target audiences.
Rebecca Heemann, M.A. ’15 – The Yellow Light Project
We all know that cyber bullying is a significant problem. But it seems, after a spate of incidences in recent years, that the issue has fallen off the edge. Even though research shows that cyber bullying has decreased, Rebecca, a student in Loyola’s Emerging Media masters program who is passionate about this issue, wanted to keep parents and teachers focused on cyber bullying, lest it rear its ugly head. In order to keep awareness levels high, the Yellow Light Project was created. The project revolved around an awareness campaign to keep parents and teachers apprised of information this important issue. Rebecca created social media properties, including a Twitter feed and Facebook page. As well, she created a dedicated blog site to write about the issue of cyber bullying. Her personal goal with this project is to become a thought leader to spur further discussion on the issue.
Aliza Friedlander, M.A. ’15 – Loyola’s Emerging Media Program
As the Loyola Emerging Media master’s program entered its third year, it was time to assess how far the program had come and where it was headed; in particular how to communicate the program’s growth and success to prospective, current and past students. Aliza Friedlander created a hashtag campaign -- #weRreal – based on extensive primary research. She determined that although the Loyola Emerging Media program was mostly online, meaning the program was virtual – students wanted a greater sense of social presence. To that end, Aliza wanted to extend social relationships through a communication campaign that included external media platforms, especially establishing a strong presence on Twitter and Facebook. She employed techniques employed by marketers and public relations practitioners to come up with a content strategy that would encourage the target audiences to share events, stories and other information while growing a social network. She was able to promote student ideas through the emergingmedia360.org blog, and she created other tactics, like video testimonials.
Dennis Cornwall, M.A. ’15 – Loneliness, Older Adults and Computer Technology
While enrolled in The User Experience course in the Emerging Media graduate program, Dennis came up with an idea that he turned into a semester-long study regarding the ways in which older adults utilize digital media in their everyday lives. After the course ended and Dennis had to come up with a capstone project as part of the requirement for the master’s degree and returned to this topic. The use of digital media by older adults research project became an extensive ethnographic study of the ways in which older individuals, whether living alone and independently or living in an assistant living facility, utilized smart phones and accessed other digital technologies to stay in touch with family and friends and to keep up with news and information. He concluded that because older adults are the fastest growing age group in the United States, their perceived isolation may lead to adverse health conditions, some of which could be ameliorated by their use of digital technologies. In fact, he found that older adults are indeed interested in adopting newer technologies in their everyday lives, and in his conclusion he calls for the establishment of training and assistance programs.