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Jon  Smith - Southern Utah University. Cedar City, UT, US

Jon Smith

Professor of Communication | Southern Utah University


Specializing in public land issues, television news, and documentary film production


Dr. Jon Smith is a professor of communication at Southern Utah University. He teaches human communication, television production, photography, journalism, and media theory.

Dr. Smith is an award-winning documentary producer, writer, and videographer. He has unique perspectives on media in our society because of his professional media experience, media academic study, international travel, and his current documentary production.

Dr. Smith earned a bachelor of arts in communication and master of arts in mass communication from Brigham Young University and a Ph.D. in mass communication from the University of Tennessee.






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Industry Expertise (5)

Writing and Editing

Media Production


Media - Broadcast


Areas of Expertise (14)


Professional Communication in Mass Media

Digital Photojournalism

Documentary Film Making

Television News



International Studies

Media Ethics

Public Land Issues

Environmental Communications

Broadcast Journalism

Teaching Communication Theory

Teaching Media Theory

Education (3)

University of Tennessee: Ph.D., Mass Communication

Brigham Young University: M.A., Mass Communication

Brigham Young University: B.A., Communication

Accomplishments (6)

Distinguished Scholar (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2016

Wrangler Award (Cowboy Oscar) (professional)

National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, 2009

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation Faculty Fellow (professional)

Hollywood, CA, 2009

Service Learning Fellow (professional)

Southern Utah University, 2008

2nd Place - Best Television Newscast (professional)

Mark of Excellence Awards Society of Professional Journalists, 2008

Fulbright Scholar (professional)

Kwaluseni, Swaziland, 2012

Affiliations (1)

  • Broadcast Education Association

Media Appearances (6)

New DVD celebrates history of Bryce Canyon National Park

Deseret News  online


“Bryce Canyon Memories,” a new DVD from Southern Utah University filmmaker Jon Smith, documents the experiences of more than 30 individuals who in visiting, living and working in Bryce Canyon became an inseparable part of its history.

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Modern day Southern Utah University Founders Celebrated with Awards

Cedar City News  online


In addition to three Distinguished Service Awards that were given out Thursday, two founders citations were given out for the first time. Both recipients, Jon Smith and Lee Byers, were behind the 2015 documentary created to tell the story of the university’s founding in 1897.

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SUU Film Bags Award in NYC Festival

The Spectrum  online


The film “Back Up the Mountain,” produced by Southern Utah University, recently won the award for Best Short Film at the Equus Film Festival in New York City. The Equus Festival features films, documentaries, shorts, music videos, commercials, art and literature about horses, said SUU professor Jon Smith, director of the film.

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SUU Goes "Back up the Mountain" to Recreate Iconic Story

The Spectrum  online


"(SUU) President (Scott) Wyatt wanted to focus on the people who founded this university," said producer and SUU professor of communication Jon Smith. "We took the 'Old Sorrel' story and we wrote some storyboards and decided to focus on the people who were involved. We've been heavily involved in this project since November, and we found the actors. We're pleased that we got Jasen Wade from 17 Miracles to play Neil Bladen, the man who led the trek up the mountain. After getting the actors we got the permits, talked locations and now we are here. We should be done with the finished product in the next couple months."

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SUU Enters a Superbowl Commercial Competition to Win $1 Million

Good4Utah  online


The Cedar City community has teamed together to produce a commercial for the “Doritos Crash the Superbowl Competition”. Award-winning filmmaker and producer Dr. Jon Smith pitched the idea to Ellen Treanor of the SUU Communications department. “Every year he said we should do something for the Doritos Crash Competition. This year, he came up with five ideas and the high schools, middle schools, dance studio, the Cedar City Mayor, SUU students, everyone's volunteering and it's been phenomenal," she said.

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Communication Professor Serves as Fulbright Scholar in Swaziland

SUU News  online


Dr. Jon M. Smith, communication professor at Southern Utah University, is working as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Swaziland (UNISWA) in the Kingdom of Swaziland in southern Africa. Smith was awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to lecture at the university and conduct research and video documentary production at the University of Swaziland-Kwaluseni during the 2011–2012 school year. Smith, a former SUU communication department chair, began teaching in Swaziland in August 2011 and is on sabbatical leave from SUU during this assignment. He will return to SUU in August 2012.

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Articles (1)

Film about SUU’s History Wins National Competition

SUU News


A docu-drama titled “Back Up the Mountain” produced by Southern Utah University about its history and founding won a “Winnie” award for Best Film Short in the Equus Film in New York City. The award was recently announced after the film was screened in New York City at the end of November.

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Courses (7)

COMM 1130-Writing for Communication

Focus on writing skills required for successful communication in media, strategic, and academic settings. Class activities and homework assignments emphasize foundations of good writing: grammar, spelling, usage, vocabulary, punctuation, and style. Students will learn diverse approaches used in media writing, strategic communication, and academic writing. A secondary focus is avoiding plagiarism.

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COMM 3090-Introduction to Digital Photojournalism

Photography for publication in print and on-line media using digital technology. News advertising, public relations, feature, sports, lifestyle, photo essay and documentary applications. 3 hours combined lecture and lab.

COMM-3504 Practicum-TV Lab

A television lab experience which results in public affairs, news, documentary, sports and educational programming for the University cable station. Only 4 credit hours of each practicum can count toward the major.

COMM 6010 Communication Theory

Introduction, research and written articulation of both basic and advanced concepts, models, and theories examining the role of professional communication in human, corporate, strategic and mass media contexts.

COMM 6900 Masters Capstone Thesis

A capstone experience demonstrating the ability to complete a professional thesis in consultation with a graduate faculty. Students will conceive, research, and produce an original research investigation in a relevant area of communication.

COMM 6910 Masters Capstone Internship/Project

A capstone experience demonstrating the ability to complete a professional internship or project working in consultation with a graduate faculty. Students conceive, research and produce/complete an internship or project in a relevant career path for post SUU work.

COMM 6999 Capstone Thesis Continuance

Students who have taken required capstone hours, but have not yet defended their thesis must be continuously enrolled in fall and spring semester until the capstone is issued a passing grade by his/her/chair.