Discovering Journalism: Foundations for Reporting in a Diverse Society

Institution: Carleton University (Richcraft Hall 2311)
Category: Faculty of Public Affairs
Language: English

Course Description

This interactive course will expose participants to the history and development of the media industry in the West and, by the end of the week, put them in the driver’s seat as creators of their own digital news reports.

Students will learn and practice the basic skills required to gather and present information as a journalist, and do so in a learning environment that responds to the urgent and timely calls for reform within journalism as the institution itself grapples with contemporary debates in the news media and wider society about anti-racism, inclusion, reconciliation, representation, and climate justice. The course is grounded in the belief that engaging a wide variety of perspectives in all aspects of journalism, including those from communities across race, ethnicity, class, religion, gender and sexual minorities, and ability is fundamental to the media’s role in reflecting and responding to the diverse communities it serves.

Students will confront the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing journalists today, exploring everything from ancient news-sharing to 21st-Century expression in blogs, tweets, and TikTok videos. They will get a primer on media and digital literacy, learn to spot mis- and disinformation, and gain a better understanding of how today’s content is produced, published, and distributed across many platforms.

Along the way, students will encounter trailblazing journalists, including Mary Ann Shadd Cary, the first Black woman to publish a newspaper in Canada, and hear from leading journalists and educators working in the field today, including Carleton journalism faculty members .

Throughout the week, particular emphasis will be placed on the importance of precision, clarity, storytelling, and connection with the audience – important things to consider in all journalistic work in any media, including print, audio, video, digital, or some as-yet undiscovered ways we can’t even begin to imagine today.

Each morning would centre on an interactive lesson and group discussion and each afternoon would focus on hands-on, practical skills. A morning excursion to Parliament Hill and/or a newsroom will be explored (depending on COVID-19 protocols in place at the time).

The week will culminate with an experiential learning activity in which students, working in teams, will gather information, assemble material, and produce digital reports on deadline. Students who complete the course will leave with new skills in developing and pitching story ideas, planning and telling visually compelling multimedia stories, interviewing people, composing and editing photos, and writing in a journalistic style.