Social Media Mission with Robert Walz and Dr. Jessica Zurcher

August 9, 2018

In a way, we have all been called to a Social Media Mission. But how does one go about doing that? Our two guests on this episode, Robert Walz and Dr. Jessica Zurcher, run a pilot program for the Church in Utah County. The full name of the callings they hold in the Church are to work with the Utah County Social Media Member Missionary Pilot Project. This is a multi-layered effort to develop curriculum and to test out different methods of helping members, even Return Missionaries with special language skills, the various ways that they can minister to others online and find referrals for the missionaries throughout the world.

Robert Walz Bio:
Robert Walz is an associate teaching professor. He received a B.A. in broadcast journalism from BYU in 1982. Walz began teaching at BYU in 2002. He started his journalism career as the weekend anchor at KIVI television in Boise, Idaho. Walz moved back to Utah in 1984, working as a reporter and anchor at KSL-Television for 15 years. He has also worked for KTVX Channel 4.  Walz is currently a reporter for Utah’s ABC 4 News. In 2004, Walz spent two days covering the destruction caused by hurricane Ivan in the Cayman Islands and the distribution of relief supplies sent by the LDS church. He did several live reports on irritable bowel syndrome and several more stories when he returned.  He also spent a week in Malawi, Africa collecting material for a project he is doing on the distribution of food to those starving due to drought in Africa. Later that year, Walz spent ten days in Peru during October following the distribution of wheelchairs by a Utah based humanitarian group. They also visited a remote village 75 miles down the Amazon River where the group built desks for a school. Part of the footage they shot aired on ABC 4 News.

Dr. Jessica Zurcher Bio:
Jessica Zurcher received a M.A. in Mass Communications from Brigham Young University (2011) and a B.S. from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Theatre and Speech Education, minor in English (2008). She has her Ph. D. from the University of Utah in Communications.   Her research interests include issues dealing with new media, education, and family communication—specifically, her dissertation focuses on societal perceptions of adolescent exposure to online pornography and parent-child pornography communication.  Zurcher has also worked as a co-collaborator on several research projects and is a published author in The Journal of Children and Media and Education Gerontology.  She has also presented at national communication conferences. In addition to her work in higher education, Zurcher serves as an influential educator in secondary education.  She instructs students in grades 6-12, developing and implementing curriculum for introductory and advanced theatre classes, English, film, and public speaking.  She has also taught undergraduate-level communication classes through Salt Lake Community College.  She and her husband reside in Lindon, UT and enjoy taking long walks with their two dogs, Max and Molly.

Find the Social Media Mission Page on Facebook:

Join up with the Friends In All Languages (you nee to qualify geographically):

A Sample of the Videos they create for this project, specifically the video that shows the difference between the Scottish and Irish accents.

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