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In the context of the complexity of the contemporary media environment and journalism’s central role in how information is disseminated, the Major in Media, Journalism and Digital Cultures has two streams: Media Studies and Journalism Studies. Through common core courses and courses unique to each stream, students consider the ubiquity of media in contemporary society and examine media’s cultural, political, economic, and social implications. Because media is centrally placed as a means through which democratic discussion occurs in the public sphere, the development of media literacy skills is crucial in maintaining an informed citizenry and paramount to students’ individual empowerment.
As media scholar W. James Potter has written: “Becoming more media literate gives you a much clearer perspective to see the border between your real world and the world manufactured by the media. When you are media literate, you have clear maps to help you navigate better in the media world so that you can get to those experiences and information you want without becoming distracted by those things that harm you.” (Media Literacy, 2012)
The Media Studies Stream offers students theoretical and critical thinking tools to examine what it means to live in a highly-mediated, media-focused visual and auditory culture. Students study how media works in today’s world at local, regional and global scales; the history of media and technology and its development and use across different cultures; how media industries manufacture, manage, and disseminate information; and how media form and content shape knowledge and meaning from historical, philosophical, cinematic and artistic perspectives, among many others. In studying media, students hone their media literacy skills and learn to critically evaluate the content of media and analyze its underlying ideologies and their implications within the cultural, political, economic, and social realms.
While all forms of journalism are examples of media, not all media are journalistic in nature. The Journalism Studies Stream is ideal for students who are interested in studying media with a specific focus on journalism, the news media industry, as well as journalism’s form, function and meaning in a global and democratic society. It offers a comprehensive program of study and research with an emphasis on scholarly, conceptual understandings of journalism, including how journalism functions as an agent of change. It provides students a critical understanding of the role of journalism, its relationship to new technologies, and how cultures of information sharing are in the process of social change and what this means from cultural, political, economic, and social points of view. In critically studying journalism, students hone their media literacy skills to comprehend, navigate, and adapt to today’s complicated and ever changing media environment, whether as journalists, policy advocates, or simply as informed citizens.
Guide to Course Selection
The Media Studies and Journalism Studies streams require 4.0 credits as a common core.
During their first year, students in both streams should take ACMB01H3 Critical Reading, Thinking and Writing for ACM Programs, MDSA01H3 Introduction to Media Studies, and MDSA02 History of Media. Students in the Journalism Studies stream should also take JOUA01H3 Introduction to Journalism and News Literacy I and JOUA02H3 Introduction to Journalism II.
Students must complete 8.0 credits including 2.0 credits at the C- or D-level:
Core (4.0 credits)
1. Introductory Courses (2.0 credits):
ACMB01H3 Critical Reading, Thinking and Writing for ACM Programs
ACMB02H3 Methods of Inquiry and Investigation for ACM Programs
MDSA01H3 Introduction to Media Studies
MDSA02H3 History of Media
Media Studies Stream (4.0 credits)
5. 0.5 credit from the following:
MDSD01H3 Senior Seminar: Topics in Media and Arts
MDSD02H3 Senior Seminar: Topics in Media and Society
MDSD11H3/JOUD11H3 Senior Research Seminar in Media and Journalism Research
6. 3.5 additional credits in MDS courses
6. 2.0 credits as follows:
JOUB01H3 Covering Immigration and Transnational Issues
JOUB02H3 Critical Journalism
JOUB24H3 Journalism in the Age of Digital Media
JOUB39H3 Fundamentals of Journalistic Writing
7. 0.5 credit from the following:
JOUC30H3 Critical Approaches to Style, Form and Narrative
JOUC31H3 Journalism, Information Sharing and Technological Change
JOUC62H3 Media, Journalism and Digital Labour
JOUC63H3 Media Ethics