Western plans groundbreaking Master of Media in Journalism & Communication

Western University announced a new Master of Media in Journalism & Communication today, becoming the first university in Canada to offer a master’s program combining the two disciplines.

The new program replaces Western’s prestigious Master of Arts in Journalism, which began 40 years ago and has helped graduates shape journalism in Canada and internationally.

“The media landscape has changed profoundly in recent years, altering the career paths of today’s journalism graduates, many of whom apply their skills in communications and public relations fields,” said Tom Carmichael, Dean of Western’s Faculty of Information Media Studies. “We’ve recognized a shift in demand from applicants and this redesigned program reflects the fact that the fields of journalism and communications are interdependent.”

The revamped program will address a requirement that today’s journalists have more integrated media skills and the ability to look forward and see which new tools and digital platforms will help them tell their stories best. The changes also recognize that with the growing influence public relations practitioners have on journalists, it is increasingly important for journalists to understand the role of communications.

Professionals working in public relations, media relations and other communications fields need to understand how to incorporate the same media techniques in their work. Both fields rely on common skills: storytelling, concise writing, interviewing, research, and multimedia skills.

The new program will help grads to move among newsrooms, public sector, not-for-profit and corporate communications work, and emerging niches in a rapidly evolving media landscape.

“We have never shied away from adapting to changing circumstance and adopting new approaches, and we believe our redesigned curriculum is the best way to continue the Western tradition of great storytelling and excellence in journalism,” said Carmichael. “This approach will make for better journalists, better communicators, and an improved media environment and help future grads to be more successful in their careers.”

The program has been approved by the University’s Senate, and now goes to the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities for final sanction. Western’s Master of Media in Journalism & Communication is slated to begin in September 2015 and accepting applications until February 1, 2015. More information is available at www.fims.uwo.ca/acad_programs/grad/mmjc

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Ledgley, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85283, sledgley@uwo.ca