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Graduate program in Communication at Saint Louis University makes you excel as a communicator


Engaging environment, professors who care and devote their time to students, and a feeling of inclusion, are some of the qualities of the Saint Louis Communication Department that students frequently emphasize.

The Master’s program in Communication is designed to broaden students’ knowledge in interpersonal, organizational and mass communication, and to educate students to become effective communicators. In addition to offering different theoretical and practical courses, the Communication graduate program is tailored to fit individual interests and goals.

Having concerns about professors?

The Communication graduate program offers small classes that allow close working relationships with faculty members.

“Professors are always there for me, willing to sit down, one-on-one to discuss my concerns and answer every question that I have,” says Allie Galoob, a research assistant interested in sports journalism.

What about funding opportunities?

The Communication Department offers graduate assistantships that cover a tuition waiver, stipend, and health insurance. Students who are graduate assistants have to work 20 hours a week.

“The Communication Department provides teaching, research, and professional assistantships. That makes the student’s financial situation much easier,” says Jasmine Brown, a teaching assistant who teaches Public Speaking. Her areas of interest are media studies and video production.

Working full-time and don’t have time to attend classes?

The Master’s program is designed for working professionals and all graduate courses are taught in the evenings.

“I work from nine to five and have time to attend classes because they start at 6 p.m. I study later in the evenings and over the weekends,” says Jonathan Ernst, a second-year graduate student who is interested in health communication.

“Working full-time and also doing master’s program full time really helps because you bring things that you are learning in the classroom, and you can actually see it going on in your workplace.”

Need more information about the program?

Check the Communication Department website, watch the students’ stories they shared about their SLU experiences, and follow The Comm Department news and activities on Twitter and Facebook:


How to maximize your online presence?

Web presence is always about good content and ability to attract traffic to a website. The winning combination is providing newsworthy information for the targeted public, applying all tips for online writing and providing a good design – uncluttered, clean and easy to navigate. Adding widgets and allowing interactivity so that readers can actively participate – is always a plus!

“Less is more” rule for successful personal website

Branding and distinguishing one’s online presence is challenging! The most important rule is to find a balance between presenting the existing work and presenting the relevant work. Young television producer and a Saint Louis University communication graduate student Jasmine Brown designed her digital portfolio so that prospective employers can read about and see her work. She presents herself as a video, photography and design professional.

  • Jasmine presented herself and her work on six webpages: home page, resume, reel, gallery, articles, and contact page. All the pages are aimed to present her best video, photography and design work.

o   Home page clearly explains who she is and what she does in just six sentences. A reader doesn’t need to scroll down when reading on desktop or laptop screen.

o   Resume page presents her resume emphasizing her skills on the top. However, a PDF file resume would be a plus.

o   Reel page contains six videos (a short description, year of production and running time are provided). Hope to see more recently done videos!

o   Articles page shows shots of her best newspaper articles with the “go to link” option.

o   Gallery page presents best of her work as a photographer and designer. She didn’t clutter the page with numerous photos. Who is interested in her photos may click on “show more.” I would like to know more about where the photos were taken, even though every photo has a caption.

o   Contact page is simple and nice, but I recommend removing a phone number info.

  • By using white space, she kept her digital portfolio clean and organized. The usage of three fonts, and black and blue letters helps search easily from more to less important information. A pop of purple color when choosing one of the pages gives an insight into Jasmine’s playful character.
  • Simplicity and meaningful layout makes the portfolio very effective. I especially like the fact that only her name (which is in the biggest font) and the three-word description are consistent through pages. The most appealing about this digital portfolio is that Jasmine presented herself as a professional who is at the same time both serious and interesting.

Nontraditional media site: Be easy with scrolling down option!

Traditional and nontraditional news websites are equally fighting to attract readers. Since both types of websites are all about the news, the frequent traps that both should avoid are displaying a lot of small font letters and endless scrolling down! Nontraditional news websites have the opportunity to play with the news, publish a lot of personal opinions and play with their content in different ways. Mashable is visually appealing website and offer different news content with the social media news emphasize. The site is adjusted to different platforms and tablets’ version is simpler.

  • Mashable offers seven pages within the site: Must Read, Social Media, Tech, Business, Entertainment, US & World, More. All pages except for the Must read have nested additional pages underlining social media. To avoid endless scrolling down, the news articles are also presented in three main sections on the page: The New Stuff, The Next Big Thing and What’s Hot.
  • The most appealing detail is the data providing numbers of articles’ shares on social media and the velocity graph showing how quickly people share articles on social media.
  • On the home page there are three font sizes that make articles easily readable: the headline font size of the news from The New Stuff section, the headline font size of all the other articles and the font size of provided leads. Different and limited number of font sizes allows easy navigation.
  • Mashable provides a lot of information but its color design is simple: white background; the blue ribbon at the top offering different pages menu, and the green ribbon announcing The Next Big Thing section. The numbers of the articles’ shares are also in green, while blue letters are reserved for the embedded links.
  • The most appealing enhancing design tools are quality photographs and videos that accompany each report. Additionally, readers have the opportunity to see a photo of the article’s writer.

Photo captions are “must have”

The website that I have frequently visited recently is the New Mexico Tourism website. The site is very interactive and provides both information about tourism and a tool for planning your own trip.

  • Alongside the home page, there are five additional pages: True Adventures, Stay Here, Dining and Entertainment, Explore New Mexico, and Trip Planning. All of those pages have numerous pages nested within each of them. This layout, at the same, offers a lot of useful information, and makes easier the site navigation. However, excessive data are time consuming and make you spend more time searching.

o   True Adventures page offers diverse info: from arts and culture, to outdoor and family fun.

o   Stay Here page displays info about hotels, resorts, campgrounds and dude ranches.

o   Dining and Entertainment is devoted to New Mexico cuisine, restaurants, and performances.

o   Explore New Mexico page is about parks, annual events, Native Americans and a lot of other stuff.

o   Trip Planning offers info about transportation, visitor centers, vacation guide etc.

  • The design is simple with pops of orange color and three fonts sizes letters: larger for headlines, medium for the most interesting sentences which are extracted from the texts, and small for articles. And there are a lot of beautiful photos! However, a large photo is the most dominating item on the page and additional scrolling down to written info is necessary.
  • Photos are the most appealing on this website! My only suggestion is to add captions and provide “who, where and why “information. Captions are not only informative but makes sharing photos more meaningful!
  • An interactive map where you can search for example, farmer’s markets in Albuquerque, is a great asset bot to the design and content. Interactive design is also appealing because on each page, a reader can look at the map, plan his or her own trip or see the info on the New Mexico Tourism Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube channel or Instagram. Additionally, there are seven tool markers at the bottom for reader to choose different cultural, family, or cuisine events. Just click on chili papers icon and you will find more about New Mexico culinary delights!

St. Louis fish fries showcase cultural diversity

Fish fries, the communal celebration of the abstinence from meat on Fridays during Lent, have gained great popularity in St. Louis. Even though this religious tradition is associated with Roman Catholics, several churches of other Christian denominations throughout St. Louis run fish fries.

No matter whether it is a Mexican, African-American or Serbian Orthodox church, all of them have the common goal: supporting the call for abstaining from meats, raising funds for parishes and promoting their communities’ cultures.

The tradition of eating fish on Fridays became a “hot” online topic with maps of the best fish fries venues in the city, and Facebook and Twitter discussion. Offline and online popularity of this religious related tradition has given fish fries the status of a popular culture phenomenon.

How did fish get into the spotlight of celebrating Lent?

“Fish was important to the early Christians, as it was their main source of protein, not to mention most of the disciples’ livelihood or trade as fishermen,” said Erin Schmidt, a liturgy coordinator at Saint Louis University Campus ministry.

ST. LOUIS – Jordan Slavik and Angela Wise, the Knights of Columbus Saint Louis University chapter volunteers, serve freshly fried catfish. The Knights usually serve for lunch and dinner. On busy days they sell over 250 meals and the raised funds go to some charitable organization such as Cardinal Glennon Hospital, Pregnant Parenting, and various Disability Awareness projects. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

ST. LOUIS – Jordan Slavik and Angela Wise, the Knights of Columbus Saint Louis University chapter volunteers, serve freshly fried catfish. The Knights usually serve for lunch and dinner on Fridays during Lent. On busy days they sell over 250 meals and the funds go to charitable organizations including  Cardinal Glennon Hospital, pregnant parenting organizations, and various disability awareness projects. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)


Jordan Slavik, the Grand Knight of Saint Louis University chapter, explained that in more recent history “the tradition of the Lenten fish fries is geared towards supporting and encouraging spiritual and physical fasting.”

In this way, fish fries have become a way of remembering Christ’s sacrifice and giving up a little something ourselves, while still coming together to celebrate a meal with one another,” Slavik said. “Sharing a meal is also a way to raise charitable funds for those in most need.”

The Knights of Columbus SLU chapter sells over 250 meals on busy Fridays raising weekly around $1,500 for charity.




Fish fries and cultural diversity

The Holy Trinity Serbian Eastern Orthodox Church in St. Louis is one of the non-Catholic denomination churches that started hosting fish fries four years ago. Organizing fish fries represents the act of “Americanization” of Lent activities since the fish fry tradition does not exist in Orthodox Christianity.

ST. LOUIS - Rev. Ljubomir Krstic, a priest of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, makes crepes the way they are traditionally made in Serbia. Helping during the fish fry event made him leave his vestment at home and spend the Friday afternoon in more comfortable clothing. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

ST. LOUIS – Rev. Ljubomir Krstic, a priest of the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, makes crepes the way they are traditionally made in Serbia. Helping during the fish fry event made him leave his vestment at home and spend the Friday afternoon in more comfortable clothing. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

“One of the reasons that the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church organizes fish fries is to become a part of community so that our neighbors get to know Serbian people and culture,” said Rev. Ljubomir Krstic. “Our forefathers came to this country looking for better ways of life and generations of our parishioners who were born in the U.S. consider themselves as Serbian-Americans. Today we are all about being good neighbors and good stewards to this country and the city in which we dwell in.”

In 2014 the Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church broke the record by serving 372 meals in a week. The church will use the raised funds to replace the church building roof.

Interesting facts: Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church, 1910 Serbian Drive, St. Louis

  • Serbian ethnic food: Bean soup (pasulj), sour cabbage (podvarak) and fresh crepes made on the spot and filled with Nutella or strawberry jam
  • Food is served in real plates alongside real silverware
  • Krstic will give tours of the church, explaining the differences between Catholicism and Orthodox Christianity

Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church1115 South Florissant Road, St. Louis

  • Mexican style fish fry: cactus salad, fish and potato tacos and ceviche de jureland
  • Eileen Wolfington, better known as “La Morena,” teaches children Mexican folk dances
  • Live music performed on keyboard and hand drums
ST. LOUIS – Patricia Hernandez and Santiago Solorio, the volunteers at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic, have brought their Mexican heritage into fish fries. Hernandez makes taco fillings while Solorio prepares fresh tacos. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

ST. LOUIS – Santiago Solorio and Patricia Hernandez, volunteers at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church, have brought their Mexican heritage into fish fries. Hernandez makes taco fillings while Solorio prepares fresh tacos. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

ST. LOUIS – Eileen Wolfington “La Morena” teaches children Mexican folk dancing during fish fries at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church. Except for having Mexican style food, visiting children have the opportunity to dance and wear Mexican style costumes, such as ponchos and sombreros. ( SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

ST. LOUIS – Eileen Wolfington “La Morena” teaches children Mexican folk dancing during fish fries at Our Lady of Guadalupe Roman Catholic Church. In addition to having Mexican style food, visiting children have the opportunity to dance and wear Mexican style costumes, such as ponchos and sombreros. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic)

St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Catholic Church1118 North Grand Blvd, St. Louis

  • Ethnic food: deep fried catfish or tilapia, and soul food specialties on last Lent Friday
  • Parishioners and visitors may place orders by fax or phone
  • Fish Fry lottery: the lucky winners may end up with a brand new flat screen TV, gas card or a booze basket
ST. LOUIS – Ozzie Foster and the chef, Paul Townsend, each year volunteer preparing food at the St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Catholic Church. Food is served from 11 a.m. to the 6 p.m. and takes many hands to prepare and pack all fish fry orders. On the last Lenten Friday, April 11th, serving hours are extended to 7 p.m. and on that day volunteers will serve soul food.

ST. LOUIS – Ozzie Foster and chef Paul Townsend each year volunteer preparing food at the St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Catholic Church. Food is served from 11 a.m. to the 6 p.m. and takes many hands to prepare and pack all fish fry orders. On the last Lenten Friday serving hours are extended to 7 p.m. and on that day volunteers will serve soul food. (SLU/Ivana Cvetkovic) 

The Knights of Columbus – SLU campus

  • $6 fish meal combo includes catfish/pollock fillets in beer butter, fries and drink
  • The only place where Coca-Cola is sold on SLU campus
  • Students who are members of the Knights of Columbus prepare food on campus


Top five tips for not being sued for what you post online

The Internet is the most powerful tool for reaching millions, and therefore, every online article, photo, video, blog or just a comment are matters of possible legal liability.

How to avoid multi-million dollar verdicts or any kind of penalties that you have to pay for?

There are different kinds of legal risks for online posting, but majority of them are just small risks. However, by applying just several rules in what and how to post online you can become more cautions online news producer and publisher.

  • Gathering information and not only publishing is a matter of legal liability. Therefore, pay attention on where you gather information and different public vs. private property accesses. Never just assume that you may enter legally to all of the public buildings and that a public display of press pass will get you anywhere! Plan ahead and ask for permission! Bear in mind that each state has some different laws and jurisdiction.
  • Video making is not permitted everywhere! Even if you are allowed to carry your smart phone with camera, that doesn’t mean that you are allowed to make a video. Permission to access the venue is not the same as permission to shoot a video! Avoid using concealed cameras and microphones! Additionally, be very careful with special equipment for capturing people at private property, because you might get a good photo but you might also be sued.
  •  Gather information from documents and sources that are publicly available. For publishing information that has not been previously revealed to the public, ask for permission. Red flag for using and publishing any kind of intellectual property without permission, including other people’s creative work, trademarks or business information.
  • Don’t publish false information! Publishing false statements that harms somebody’s reputation is huge legal NO, NO! Defamation and false light are very serious misdemeanors. Don’t think only about what you write about somebody but also about photos you post. Think carefully not to misrepresent a person by posting his or her photo to illustrate the story which is not directly connected with the image itself.
  • Getting permission is the golden rule to play safe the online game of writing and posting. The best is if you get a consent or permission in writing! Getting permission is important for accessing both, private properties and some public properties. Also, you might need a permission to take a photo or video even if you have been already permitted to enter the property. Getting permission is crucial for publishing private material that has not yet been published or posted to public.

There are more or less similar rules about legal liability for what you post online all around the world. It is useful to be informed about “DOs” and “DON’Ts” before posting. And bear in mind that in the U.S. “CDA 220” rule protects the bloggers from liability for third-parties posts on their blogs or websites! Keep in mind these rules and enjoy being present online!

Useful tips for online writing

Online writing does differ from print writing. Writing for the web is more strategic and oriented toward attracting additional traffic, and engaging readers. Here are top five tips that online writers should consider and apply:

  • Concise headline:  A headline needs to tell the point of the article. Additionally, the best headline in online writing is the one that can pop-up easily when readers search for specific themes online. Online writers should consider search engine optimization when they think about the words that should be included in a headline.
  • Keep it short, simple and clean: Simple sentences and clear expressions are the best way to keep the readers’ short-span attention. Online writers should always provide main ideas in short paragraphs, and be able to tell not long stories so that readers want to read it and not to leave the page.
  • Grab and direct the readers’ attention: In online writing it is not only about the content, but also about the ways a writer should direct readers to effortlessly read, skim the text, or even read only the parts they are interested in. Therefore, online writing should include convenient aids:
    • bullets
    • lists
    • subheads
    • bold and italic lettering


  • Provide links: Embedding links in online articles is the great way to provide more in-depth context and additional information that readers may read if they are interested in. Links will allow for the readers who want to know more to read more, without congesting the existing text with numerous facts.
  • Include visual aids: Writing for the web is not only about words! Successful online writers should always think about the graphs, photos or videos that may accompany their articles.  Visual aids foster readers’ engagement.

Tips for landing a job in communication

Keeping up with the novelties in the field, constant creating and networking are the top three tips for finding a job that the communication professionals shared with the students from Saint Louis University. The SLU Advisory Board members underlined that students should constantly create and produce materials in order to improve their skills, and get better in what they are doing.

– Go out and act! Don’t be afraid to be terrible because in a while you will do it better – said Pat McGonigle, the News Anchor at KSDK. Another SLU alumni Bess Menousek who does research for the marketing communications agency HughesLeahyKarlovic advised students to pay attention at classes because “a lot of skills learned in school are marketable and do transfer in the real world.”

Speaking the language of the clients, being able to adapt, and being engaged during internships and at the workplace, were some of the numerous pieces of advice that the communication professionals gave to the students at the networking event organized by the Communication Department.

Using the opportunity to listen to the professionals who established themselves in the communication-related fields, Media and Marketing student Emma Goldschmidt wanted to know more on where young job seekers as she is, should additionally investigate a potential employer. Bess Menousek, a Brand Insights Manager at HoghesLeahyKarlovic, suggested that future employees should use the benefits of LinkedIn and reach more people through that business social networking site.

– Consume as much as you can about the company you are interested in. Nowadays everything is available online – said Jim Mayfiled, the Executive Creative Director at Schupp Company. He also reminded students that they should customize their cover letters depending to whom they are talking and not to be afraid to show about what they are passionate.

The Communication Advisory Board members are SLU alumni and community members who are committed to bettering the Department and its curriculum, and to helping students to step into the real world of the communication-related industry.

Fighting a battle with 140 characters or less

For four wintery days SLU and LU students were Twitter specialized reporters in the Twitter scavenger hunt.  They told the stories and promoted their universities and St. Louis, MO. Reporting in 140 characters or less was tough but all of the students showed their creativity and wittiness. Fun and the best of the Twitter stories are recapped in this Storify story about the battle fought only by smart phones and iPads: Twitter – a battle for students’ wittiness. Enjoy!

How Serbian daily Blic can improve its Twitter presence?

News organizations use social media to distribute their news stories, start conversation with audiences and interact with them in order to allow to the members of the audience to talk back. Additionally, social media is a great tool for driving the traffic to the news organization websites. I found the discussion about social media and news inspiring in order to have a better insight in the ways how Serbian daily newspaper Blic uses Twitter to share its content and connect to the community. The most similar US newspaper is USA Today. Both are national newspaper popular in the countries where they are published, and both emphasize short news, and entertainment. However, a short and quick  analysis of 24-hour tweets of how these news organizations use Twitter shows that they don’t have similar approaches to using this micro-blogging website.

Updates and interesting headlines

  • Blic’s tweets contain the same headlines which already exist on its website
  • Blic doesn’t use Twitter for updates
  • USA Today tweaks the news headlines in its Twitter posts to make them more interesting and more attractive for sharing
  • USA Today uses Twitter for updates.
  • Both tweet about news across different news sections

Retweets and hashtag use

  • Blic retweeted some other’s post only once
  • USA Today frequently retweets posts of the USA Today reporters and other USA Today specialized Twitter handles such as Your take, USA Today Video or USA Today Sports
  • Both @USATODAY and @Blic_Online use hashtags
  • USA Today uses hashtags to mark trends and conversation topics
  • USA Today uses hashtag BREAKING in capital letters so that the followers easily navigate and read the breaking news
  • Blic uses hashtags only occasionally in order to mark the news section

Audience engagement

  • Blic’s tweets invite the audience to engage only if the website’s headline is inviting the audience (for example, to watch a video)
  • USA Today’s Twitter handle is much more engaging, offering vine videos, asking questions and calling for the audience to post their photos
  • USA Today retweets the photos of its readers called “the news from your eyes”.

Additional fact and photos

  • USA Today provides additional facts about stories by retweeting USA Today journalists’ posts
  • USA Today tweets contain photos and graphs
  • Blic nether provides additional facts to supplement existing news stories nor posts photos or graphs

24-hour overall tweets

Blic: 22

USA Today: 64

Even though there is no data about the number of Twitter users in Serbia, it’s obvious that Blic has to use Twitter more effectively in order to share its content and be more engaged in communicating with the audience. Comparing to Blic, USA Today uses Twitter not only to drive the traffic to its website but to generate conversations about the stories and invite people to participate.  By retweeting others’ posts USA Today adds value to its Twitter activity and connection with its community. Moreover, USA Today provides additional relevant content and updates, customizes its Twitter posts, uses social media to access word of mouth and to improve its online presence. Online community is global community and Blic has to improve the ways how uses different social media in order to engage with the online audience and benefit from this engagement.  

Rebranding myself: media and pop-culture fan with a sarcastic twist

When I reach the number of 201, I stopped counting Facebook profiles with the name of Ivana Cvetkovic. Wow! I was surprised that so many women carry the same name as I do. Additionally, there are 34 persons with the same name who are active on Twitter and 25 on LinkedIn. How should I distinguish myself out of the numerous online billboards carrying the same name and be visible on social media?

I am still in the process of adjusting to life in the U.S, code-switching between English and Serbian, and transitioning from being a journalist and a PR professional to being back to school. Right now I’m in the process of rebuilding my personal brand and my online identity without an attempt to erase the existing one. Media studies, journalism and popular culture are my passion and I should focus more on that area of expertise. As a future scholar mostly interested in how different media genres shape and reinforce stereotypes regarding race, gender and sexual orientation, and the ways mediated images and messages affect cultural identity construction, I should be more consistent in sharing my views about mediated images and messages. Hopefully, this approach will lead to positioning myself as a credible source and interesting brand. Additionally, I am in the process of connecting with the people with similar interests, especially with the persons from academia, not only in the U.S. but all around the world.

CNN journalist and television personality Anderson Cooper is the good example of establishing his personal brand not only within the U.S. boundaries. His name is associated with hard news, credibility, professionalism, and straightforwardness. All the qualities that I admire. He interacts with his followers on Twitter, retweets often and has a direct communication with the online community. It seems that he follows all the rules about personal branding and online presence. However, I’m leaning more towards wittiness and sarcasm, which is often easier to express in my native language. Sarcasm in English? I’m still working on it. Even though, Sadie Cornelius suggests moderation in creating an online identity, hopefully, a little bit of Miranda Hobbes’ sarcastic funniness can’t hurt!