Alumni Spotlight: Thomas Broadus

Thomas Broadus, 2010 MCJ AlumGraduation Year: 2011

Degree/Major: Master’s in Public Relations

Current Employer: The Focus Group

Current Title: Director of Interactive

Current Home: Gulfport, Mississippi

What do you do on a “typical day”? I help devise online marketing and promotional plans for websites, brands and products. In a typical day I'll work on SEO for client websites, meet with clients and partners to discuss their social media profiles and I may be in front of an association or council discussing social media.

What led you to this job/career choice? My love for media and technology.

What are some of your career highlights/accomplishments/achievements?

  • 2010 CPB Public Media Camp Scholarship Honoree
  • 2010 USM Graduate Research Symposium presenter - "Paywalls, the American Newspaper and NPR"
  • 2011 USM Graduate Research Symposium presenter - "Old Spice goes Viral in a Postmodern Advertising" also published in the Southern Miss graduate research book – Synergy
  • 2011 SXSW Interactive panelist – “Putting the Public Back in Public Media”
  • 2012 Chairman of the PBS Interactive Station Advisory Council
  • 2012 Southern States Communication Association presenter for thesis, "The Viral Fingerprint: A Content Analysis of Popular Viral Advertisements"

What other jobs did you hold before your current position? Web Administrator for Mississippi Public Broadcasting and before that I worked as a software developer with BBI, Inc.

Why did you choose Southern Miss? I chose Southern Miss not once but twice. My undergrad degree is in Business Administration and my Master’s degree is in Mass Communication. I went to Southern for its location and the quality education I knew I would receive from the faculty and staff.

What was your favorite/most useful class while at USM? I loved Marketing 400 it was a great way to put everything I had learned into one class leading up to graduation. For my Masters it was Critical and Cultural theory. It was my first class post-grad and helped change the way I review and consume mass marketing media.

Did you complete an internship/practicum while at Southern Miss? If so, tell us about your experience. YES, I interned with the Mississippi Department of Information Technology Services while I was an undergrad and then later was in a position with Mississippi Public Broadcasting to mentor and work with my own interns from Southern Miss. Internships provide the experience that will give an advantage to job applicants and I can say that every job I have had is because of connections I made in my internship with ITS.

Anything you would change about your college experience? I would have been more involved on campus as an undergrad.

What advice do you have for students going into your field? Get active, get an internship, start networking and stay current. In my field of social media changes happen faster than ever before. Facebook became a billion dollar industry and it started in 2004 - amazing.

Who are your role models?

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. - unshakable faith and hope
  2. Bill Gates – visionary
  3. Steve Jobs - uncompromising

Tell us about your family. I have an amazing wife that has been with me through my entire academic career at Southern Miss. We also have four children that love the Golden Eagles.

Any memories of your time at USM you’d like to share? Study groups, prepping for tests, working on group projects, peach smoothies from Java Works - all things I will remember fondly from my days at Southern Miss.

Other thoughts/comments/advice high points in your life to include? I hosted a radio segment on statewide MPB radio discussing technology; I've been featured in the Mississippi Business Journal; I teach seminars across Mississippi discussing social media, internet technology and mobile web technology—All thanks to my education from Southern Miss.