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The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication sports media certificate program is the first for a Southeastern Conference school. The University Council approved the certificate program in February, and it will officially launch in the fall.

The program, directed by Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Distinguished Professor in Sports Journalism and Society, is aimed at preparing students for careers in sports writing, sports broadcasting and sports communications. Michaelis worked as a sports reporter for two decades, including 12 years as USA Today’s lead Olympics writer.

Open to all undergraduates, the program will train students to report and produce sports stories in the digital age. They will learn on a multitude of platforms, from text to social media to audio and video. Students will use UGA athletics, Athens-area prep sports and Atlanta professional sports programs as real-world classrooms. They also will explore the role of sports in cultural and societal issues such as race, gender, politics, health and economics.