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WVU has announced plans for on-campus classes this fall, with base tuition and fees unchanged. Visit the Return to Campus website for the latest.

Master of Science in Media Solutions and Innovation


Introductory course: Disruption and trends in media enterprise (Digital Media Economics and Behavior), (3 credits)

This course looks at the disruptions and trends in the media that led the industry to this point, including case studies on what is and is not working in media ownership (both within the newsroom and on the business side), new revenue models, and a comparison to other industries that have gone through similar disruptions.

Audience Development and Engagement (3 credits)

This course looks into a publication’s past, current and future audience. This course emphasizes an audience-first strategy for all facets of newsroom production — from story selection to storytelling and distribution. It will also look at new ways to engage the audience and community members.

Emergent Issues in Media Law/Ethics (3 credits)

This course will look at current and emergent legal and ethical concerns publication owners and newsrooms face on a day-to-day basis. From the fight to keep legal advertising to social media issues, challenges to the First Amendment, and new concerns around data privacy impacting local communities, this course will introduce new challenges, and pose solutions, for navigating contemporary media law and ethics in publishing.

News Analytics (3 credits)

Students will go way beyond pageviews and social engagement trends. Analytics now focus on digital conversion tactics, how to get audiences into a subscription funnel, what keeps them on a path toward subscriptions and membership models, and how to make sure they stay there. From ARPU to newsletter conversions, students will learn how to survive in a sea of digital analytics.

Coding for Newsrooms (3 credits)

Web programming, graphic design, and storytelling for digital audiences. Students will use HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and other languages while learning how to operate and customize content management systems for digital publishing. Students will also design, storyboard, and script an interactive storytelling project that includes incorporating text, video, graphics and database information into interactive products.

Community Journalism (3 credits)

Comprehensive study of the community press, including policies, procedures, and issues surrounding the production of smaller newspapers within the context of the community in its social and civic setting.

Preparatory Research Practicum (4 credits)

Students will begin the process of preparing for their role as publisher by researching new business models and technologies and publications in support of sustainable local media. The focus of this practicum will be on identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in local news publishing, researching specific newspaper ownership transition opportunities, and conducting an assessment of the potential viability of a targeted publication and its surrounding community.

Independent Study (2 1-credit courses)

These hands-on, immersive training events will provide students access to business and media industry leaders from across the country, and provide sessions designed to capture current best practices in a rapidly-evolving industry. Networking with industry leaders and on-site coaches will help provide personalized advice on everything from subscription models to audience engagement and acquisition methods. Not only will they learn from some of the best minds in the industry, but also will connect with the rest of their NewStart cohort and share valuable information they can apply to their own future publications via the Preparatory Research Practicum and Capstone.

Capstone: Startup

The capstone is taken by itself, counts as six credits, and builds upon the work done in the Preparatory Research Practicum. The capstone focuses on immersion, research and creation of a business plan for the role of Publisher/Editor of a real-world media publication. Students will work with a team of coaches, mentors and experts to develop and test ideas for their own publication. While individualized research and business plans are necessary for the eventual purchase of publications, the course emphasizes collaboration among all students with a variety of skills and experiences to create new models and pathways to success.