As Member Communications Manager for YouTube TV, Christine Thomas is more than familiar with how to advocate for user needs and foster a positive and responsive environment for subscribers.
“It’s about building this digital community,” she said. “I really stand up for our members, speak on their behalf, deliver the content they want to see, and strive to retain them.”
Although Thomas has been excelling in her role for almost two years now, the former social media consultant knew that attending graduate school was a crucial next step in becoming a thought leader in the digital media industry.
Through the online Master of Science in Digital Media Management (MSDMM) program, Thomas learns to be at the forefront of digital innovation.
Her interest in the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism was sparked after reading the MSDMM learning outcomes and emphasis on leadership principles, which later reinforced her decision to apply for the program.
“In addition to the outstanding reputation of USC and Annenberg,” added Thomas.
Launching in fall 2021, the online MS in Digital Media Management prepares students to tackle the ever-changing world of media using transparent, data-driven decisions. In addition to honing their leadership and entrepreneurial skills, graduates of the two-year program will be equipped to lead diverse teams and create engaging content, technologies, and initiatives for the global marketplace.
“The digital media landscape is constantly changing, so I really want to be on top of that knowledge and learn how to identify opportunities for innovation and help influence the future of organizations,” Thomas said of his motivation to s. subscribe to the MSDMM. “I also seek to create these lasting links with other students in the field and to expand my network.[.]”
With online classes, Thomas can earn her master’s degree remotely from San Diego, but that hasn’t stopped her from fully immersing herself in the Trojan family: She highlighted USC’s sense of community as another attraction of the MSDMM.
“I was a little nervous about the online aspect of the program as it’s been a while since I’ve taken an online course, but I appreciate the flexibility it offers…I’ve established some wonderful relationships with my classmates. We have a few group chats where we discuss our learnings from the program in more detail. If anyone has questions about anything, we have a space where we can connect and work together when needed,” she said.
Thomas is only a few months into the program, but she has already felt the effect of the course on her job at YouTube televisionwhere it collaborates with various partners such as Fox and NBC to promote streaming for live TV, video on demand and cloud-based DVR.
“I was able to take what I learned each week and communicate it in my work and everyday environment. I am able to have these meaningful discussions with my colleagues,” she said.
Two areas of MSDMM focus that Thomas has been able to incorporate into his work are mitigating technological biases and ethical missteps.
“It’s something I wasn’t actively thinking about before the course, but now with this knowledge I’ve been much more diligent in identifying areas for improvement in my own work,” she noted.
Although Thomas is thrilled with her current role – carving out a place for herself in the media world and keeping an eye on the evolution of the streaming platform – she aims to assume a leadership position, if not launch his own company.
In the more immediate future, however, Thomas hopes to become a mentor and an influential voice in the field, particularly when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
“I believe a huge challenge in digital media is to address and implement diversity, inclusion, equity… [We must] address racial injustice and systemic inequalities inside and outside the workplace,” Thomas said.
Another area of digital media that both excites and worries him is technology, which is rapidly changing the way we connect and interact. Digital networks have allowed users to forge relationships and form communities with people they otherwise would not have had the opportunity to meet, but challenges such as algorithmic bias and data privacy continue to threaten the system.
From the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2016 to the more recent riots on Capitol Hill, it’s clear that digital media has an incredible influence on both our society and the world around us. While companies are still debating how to handle issues such as misinformation, fake news and privacy concerns, leaders have been instructed to take responsibility and seek inventive solutions to ethical challenges.
To move forward, it is paramount not only to regulate organizations, but also to educate ourselves on digital citizenship and media ethics, according to Thomas.
“It is important to hold the organizations that created these systems accountable. But I also think it’s something we can invest in our government, in our education system. I think we have to learn what is ethical and what is not,” she said.
For those looking to understand the value of studying digital media – or even those who wish to pursue the MSDMM degree themselves – Thomas returned to the ubiquity of the industry and its impact on our daily lives.
“We are constantly consuming all of this content online…and it’s important to understand the power that people and organizations hold,” she concluded. “The [MSDMM] The courses not only provide a good basic overview, but also discuss what is happening now and what to expect in the future of media. This knowledge is super useful at any stage of his career.
Learn more about the online masters program in digital media management today.