UNLV design student Skyler Rockey needed an internship for fall semester, but faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, he and 11 of his fellow design students found a reduced number of businesses and non-profits looking for assistance. Luckily, art department assistant professor Michael Fong recommended working for the Rebel Media Group (RGM) in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies.
RMG is a student-run, faculty-supervised digital media agency that serves a variety of clients on and off campus. Since the onset of the pandemic, they have worked remotely, helping organizations develop plans and stay active across a variety of platforms. As part of these services, RMG creates a significant amount of visual content that requires expertise in graphic design.
Rockey joined more than 40 other UNLV students, primarily from the School of Journalism and Media Studies, working with RMG. The collaboration, he said, has been a great experience.
“As a growing young designer, working with RMG has allowed me the opportunity to express my creativity in a fast-paced, professional setting,” Rockey said. “Since I am a graduating senior this semester, I enrolled in this course to help prepare me for a real-world-like work experience. I'm happy to say it did just that!”
Creating Campus Connections
A UNLV graduate himself, Fong worked with RMG faculty manager Benjamin Morse to coordinate the infusion of a dozen graphic design students into RMG this semester as interns. They have undertaken myriad assignments from crafting social media graphics to laying out digital newsletters and more.
“The collaboration with RMG has been extraordinarily productive,” Fong said. “The team shared with us many of the strategies they were already using with remote work that helped integrate the design students into the team smoothly. It's a really big step in the right direction for the art department and the design curriculum. The collaboration has provided students with many of the soft skills that are difficult to teach in the classroom such as client communications, working within a team, communicating design intent, and navigation design constraints with different types of media. I'm really looking forward to continuing this partnership and sharing the experiences with the next semester's students.”
"Interning at Rebel Media Group has been a great opportunity that helped broaden my understanding of working with clients as well as design,” said design student Iris Zervoulakos. “Creating graphics for them has been great, as communication is streamlined and everyone has been enjoyable to work with. I'm glad to have been able to work alongside them.”
Remote Media Group
Started in 2018 under the direction of Kevin Stoker, director of Journalism and Media Studies, RMG currently is overseen by Morse, a visiting lecturer who joined UNLV following a decade at Marvel Entertainment, as well as by Jacqueline Wayment, an active marketing professional lending her time and experience to the students as a project coordinator.
RMG has worked with a variety of clients over its nearly three-year tenure, from medical technology firms to local nonprofits. Currently, it teams with partners within UNLV such as KUNV, UNLV-TV and the department of communication studies as well as Las Vegas businesses such as Movement Mortgage and women’s wellness brand Zwier. The diversity of clientele lends to students honing proficiency across many disciplines within digital media marketing.
“RMG has provided me with hands-on, real-life social media management experience,” said journalism major Taylor Gabriel-Remigio. “I really appreciate that I was able to apply the things I’ve learned in class to the social accounts I was working on at RMG. Additionally, I expanded my personal skill sets, such as leadership, organization, and communication. I recommend RMG to any student as there is so much opportunity here and room to grow your personal and professional skill set. It’s a great program!”
On a national level, RMG collaborates with Beasley Media out of Detroit on a nationally syndicated streaming video show, Checkpoint XP On Campus, covering the world of collegiate esports. Journalism and media studies major Dominic Schatzan joined the Checkpoint team earlier this year:
“Coming to RMG was a completely new experience for me,” he said. “The focus through my undergraduate years has been on broadcast journalism, with minimal training in the digital marketing sphere. Through RMG, I have learned how nuanced and challenging marketing can be, giving me new ways to explore my creativity. Without RMG, I think I would have been a one-note journalism major. Within my short time with RMG, I have expanded my skills far beyond broadcast journalism and I now feel confident that multiple career paths lay ahead of me.”
With preparations already underway for the winter and spring of 2021, RMG hopes to attract more students from across the UNLV campus looking to gain a foothold in digital marketing.