Graduate students at Oklahoma State University’s School of Media and Strategic Communication are not only involved in meaningful research alongside faculty, but they are also discovering new ways to merge their life’s passions with their academic studies. Graduate Diana Haslett had the opportunity to do just that during her time as a student.
“One thing I’ve always been interested in is education and education through media,” Haslett said. “My background is in broadcasting, and my graduate degree is in mass communications. Alongside that, I’ve taken a lot of classes in education and curriculum.”
These two passions—media and education—coalesced in a class with OSU School of Media and Strategic Communication professor Dr. McKinnon.
Dr. Lori McKinnon, OSU Director of Academic Programs in the School of Global Studies, Dr. Jami Fullerton, and their colleague Dr. Alice Kendrick from Southern Methodist University collaboratively researched fake news in 2018 as Page Legacy Scholars. Their study offered insight into PRSSA students’ ability to identify native advertising content.
In 2020, the Page Center awarded Dr. McKinnon a grant to make training modules for media students and professionals based on her and her colleagues' previous research findings. Dr. McKinnon invited Haslett, who was enrolled in her Independent Study course, to participate in the project as part of her coursework.
“This is not something I ever thought I’d get to do in graduate school,” Haslett said. “It was really exciting to work on something that was out of the box. It wasn’t just a class assignment. It was a professional project that she was working on and let me come in on.”
Under Dr. McKinnon’s direction, Haslett designed educational modules on native advertising that explained the concept in-depth. The module also reviewed native advertising identification and explicated the role native advertising plays for different entities.
The completed training course, "Ethical Implications of Fake News for PR Professionals," includes an overview, quizzes, course instruction powerpoints, lesson plans, and summary videos. Students and professionals who complete the course are awarded a certificate of completion.
“It was fun,” Haslett said. “I really did enjoy it. I had to put a lot of work and research into it, but it was enjoyable. It was nice to get to do something that I really liked, and I thought could impact my future career.”
Professors at OSU’s School of Media and Strategic Communication are continuously creating new opportunities for graduate student researchers like Haslett to explore questions that align with a variety of academic interests such as international communication, political advertising, nonprofit management, and more. To learn more about how this program can enhance your communication capabilities and research expertise, visit https://media.okstate.edu/graduate- studies.