PhDigital Bootcamp participants learn emerging media techniques, including drone journalism.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communication is pleased to announce that they are the recipients of a $150,000 investment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to renew the PhDigital Bootcamp for two years.

The PhDigital Bootcamp prepares mass communication doctoral students and early career faculty to become digital scholar-educators and lead curriculum innovation. Organized around digital product management skills and concepts, the program introduces participants to in-demand competencies, including data analytics, digital strategy, HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, mobile applications, social media, emerging technologies and more.

Due to strong demand for the 2018 program, the Knight Foundation has chosen to continue to support the PhDigital Bootcamp effort.

“Journalism educators are charged with ensuring that the next generation of media professionals are equipped to meet changing audience demands,” said LaSharah Bunting, Knight Foundation director for journalism. “The PhDigital Bootcamp helps them toward this goal, providing the tools and expertise they need to reimagine their curriculums and improve their tech acumen in an increasingly digital news and information environment.”

In 2019, the program will consist of an online/in-person hybrid, starting late-February 2019. Fellows will be instructed to complete ten weekly online modules leading up to the in-person workshop May 15-21 in the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) on the Texas State University campus in San Marcos.

Led by Dr. Cindy Royal, director of the MILab and a digital innovator with experience in curriculum redesign, the workshop will help participants develop strategies for staying up-to-date and sharing knowledge with students and faculty.

“As media professionals expand their core focus around managing digital products, it grows increasingly important for educators and scholars to be prepared to lead curriculum innovation and undertake innovative research,” Royal said. “We are thrilled to be able to continue introducing doctoral students and early career faculty to these important skill sets and mindsets.”

The program has recruited faculty and advisers from the SJMC and members of the media community who are leaders in virtual reality and 360 video, drones, data, social media, coding, multimedia storytelling and media innovation.

Participants from the 2018 program had this to say about the PhDigital Bootcamp:

Since the Bootcamp, I have successfully redesigned and relaunched the Grady Newsource website; added a seven-person digital team to its broadcast capstone; and crafted, along with some amazing Grady colleagues, a digital-first paradigm for all our capstone students. I’ve also been able to pull interactive, digital tools and data concepts into the two courses I teach, one on graphics for journalists and the other a deep, multi-platform dive into housing.
– Amanda Bright, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia

This Bootcamp has helped provide me with a roadmap for learning about emerging digital media trends and for incorporating them into both teaching and research. Given the pace of change taking over the world of communication and technology, newly minted doctorates are considered a more desirable hire when they know how to work with emerging media. I highly recommend the PhDigital Bootcamp to all doctoral students and new faculty members who are interested in building a progressive academic agenda for the field of media and communication.
– Sreyoshi Dey, Ph.D. Candidate, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Watch the video from the 2018 PhDigital Bootcamp:

Students currently enrolled in a doctoral program in journalism and mass communication (or related discipline) and those who have recently completed their doctoral education (within the past two years) are encouraged to apply. Visit for more information and to find the application link. While previous digital experience is not necessary, we are seeking participants who have a strong interest in teaching and research agendas that deal with emerging, digital topics.

The program is free to selected participants and limited to up to 20 participants who will be competitively selected.. Thanks to support from the Knight Foundation, participants will receive funding to cover training, transportation, lodging, materials and meals for the in-person workshop in May.

Applications are due by midnight (Central Time) January 21, 2019 and participants will be notified of their acceptance by February 11, 2019.

More information about the Ph.Digital Bootcamp, including application information, can be found at Contact Dr. Cindy Royal,, if you have questions.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit


About the Media Innovation Lab
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication opened the Media Innovation Lab (MILab) in Fall 2016. The MILab provides Texas State University with a central point for a broad range of digital media activities – scholarship, curriculum, courses, faculty development, community networking and events. Users are able to experiment with 360 video, drones, sensors and other emerging technologies and receive training in a range of web development and social media techniques. MILab faculty are committed to continuous learning and staying on the cutting edge of the intersection of technology and communication.


About the School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The School of Journalism and Mass Communication, housed in historic Old Main, offers a nationally accredited curriculum that introduces graduate and undergraduate students to the broad framework of mass communication, emphasizing what is fundamental to advertising, journalism, public relations, electronic media and the newest degree in digital media innovation. The mission of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication is to pursue excellence. Our programs strive to cultivate strong professional, research, theoretical, critical and ethical skills in a diverse and engaging environment that prepares students to be socially responsible media professionals, scholars and citizens.