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«Concordia University Faculty of Arts & Science Department of Journalism Diploma in Visual Journalism Program Proposal February 27, 2014 Table of ...»

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Concordia University

Faculty of Arts & Science

Department of Journalism

Diploma in Visual Journalism

Program Proposal

February 27, 2014

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Section 1 Program Identification

1.1 Title and identification of the program

1.2 Areas of specialization

1.3 Administrative location

Section 2 Program Objectives

2.1 Theoretical foundation and general academic objectives

2.2 Specific knowledge, expertise, skills that students will acquire

Section 3 Rationale for Program Proposal

3.1 Socio-economic or cultural relevance

3.2 Systemic relevance

3.3 Institutional relevance

3.3.1 Status of the discipline at Concordia

3.3.2 Collaboration with other departments and universities

3.3.3 Current standing of the department and the discipline in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Section 4 Program Description and Requirements

4.1 Admission requirements

4.2 Program procedures

4.2.1 GPA Requirement

4.2.2 C Rule

4.2.3 F Rule

4.2.4 Time Limit

4.2.5 Graduation Requirement

4.3 Degree requirements

4.3.1 Courses

4.3.2 Proposed course descriptions

4.4 Strengths and research activities in the department

Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2013 2 7 Section 5 Resource Implications of the Program

5.1 Faculty resources (Human Resources, required and available)

5.1.1 Faculty presently available with areas of expertise

5.1.2 Overall faculty characteristics

5.1.3 Present and future workloads

5.2 Library resources

5.3 Studio facilities

5.4 Equipment: laboratory equipment, audio-visual equipment, etc.

5.4.1 Equipment justification and student-equipment ratios

5.5 Administrative office space

5.6 Itemized summary of resource implications

5.7 Revenue and Expense Calculation

5.8 Implementation timetable for the program

Appendix I Graduate Calendar Pages

Appendix II Library Report

Appendix III Academic Requirements for Existing and Proposed Graduate Journalism Program

Appendix IV Survey Results

Appendix V Curricula Vitae of Current Faculty Members

Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2013 3 8 Executive Summary The proposed Diploma Program in Visual Journalism is a unique, post-baccalaureate 33-credit diploma program that better situates the beginning journalist within the contemporary multiplatform news environment. The program’s genesis was in 2008 as the demands of professional journalism increasingly shifted from discrete newsroom roles into combined ones that required the journalist to be polyvalent, capable of producing stories for text, video, audio, and on-line media. Because the Department of Journalism has always been committed to the task of preparing its students to be versatile and conversant with various media platforms and story presentation forms, this program is consistent with that history and importantly fills a void in university-level journalism education in Canada.

The Diploma Program in Visual Journalism will be the only graduate-level degree in journalistic visual storytelling in Canada. This will set Concordia University as the first to offer such a program in this growing field and further cement the university’s reputation as a leader in innovative education. In general, other university-level photography programs across the country focus on either fine arts or commercial photography. That is not visual journalism.

Comparatively at the college level in Canada, Langara College in British Columbia, offers a continuing education program but no degree. In Ontario, Conestoga College has a sports photography and videography diploma but not within the context of a journalism program. The sole post-secondary program available in Canada is offered at the community-college level at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario. At the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, students may specialize in photojournalism within their graduate diploma program. In the United States, there are a number of four-year undergraduate and two-year MA programs in Visual Journalism available – e.g., Syracuse University, University of Missouri, University of Montana, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Ohio University.

The program is an applied program. The program is primarily aimed at a clientele of recent journalism graduates who wish to develop their visual journalism skills so that they may enhance their attractiveness to potential employers or enable them to pursue a freelance career in photo/video journalism. The program also targets the working journalist who wishes to supplement his/her professional skill set to better perform in today’s multi-platform news Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2013 4 9 environment. Students will be expected to produce work that will be judged according to professional journalistic standards. The program teaches students proper visual story-telling techniques, including basic and advanced news photography – broadly defined here as both still and video photography – and instructs students on visual journalism’s best practices so that they will produce a) desired still news photography, b) creative sound capture for slide shows, c) video journalism packages and documentaries, and d) a dossier that attractively packages and disseminates their work. The program culminates in a three-credit, capstone course (JOUR 537 – Visual Journalism Portfolio). It is an advanced workshop requiring students to create professional portfolios that establish individual brands as professional visual journalists. Students will be trained in proper lighting and editing techniques as well as multi-platform integration. In all, the students complete a three semester, 33-credit program that begins in the summer term and ends with the winter term. It is expected that the program will enrol 24 students per cohort year with 22 students retained as it progresses. A part-time option does not exist.

In 2013, the department hired a tenure-track, assistant professor to help establish and direct the program. While the department can make use of existing classroom and studio space, other additional resources include purchasing camera and lighting equipment (with a projected $85,050 budget).

–  –  –

1.1 Title and identification of the program Diploma in Visual Journalism

1.2 Areas of specialization News Photography and Reporting News Features Documentary Essays

1.3 Administrative location Department of Journalism Faculty of Arts and Science, Concordia University 1455, Blvd. de Maisonneuve Ouest Montreal (QC) H3G 1M8 Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2013 6 11 Section 2 Program Objectives

2.1 Theoretical foundation and general academic objectives Visuals, in the form of still and moving images, are key to journalistic reporting, and have been so for decades. Journalism uses them as documentary proof to support central core journalistic values such as truthful and objective reporting. In the past, the routines of journalistic production have separated the producers of the visual content from the text content; there were reporters and there were photographers, and reporting was considered a profession and visual production a trade. The pressures of media convergence and the increasingly accessible tools of visual journalism have blurred these once clearly delineated professional boundaries. As the professional boundaries shift and break, visual reporting has achieved professional status and recognition. To address the need for highly skilled professional visual reporters, the Department of Journalism at Concordia University proposes this graduate-level Diploma in Visual Journalism.

Leading newspaper web sites, such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Globe and Mail, routinely combine traditional text and photographs to create slide shows, sound recordings, and mini-documentaries, often produced by the same person. Canadian Press reporters on assignment are required to provide still photographs as well as video and audio elements for their “print” stories. To underscore the importance of this added visual dynamic, the New York Times promoted its director of photography, Michele McNally, to assistant managing editor. Newspaper websites are not the only media environment blurring the lines between the traditional news platforms.

Broadcasting web sites, such as the BBC in Britain and the CBC/Radio-Canada add still photographs to their traditional video and audio packages.

The academic aim then of the program is to provide students with an intensive curriculum that emphasizes the conceptual and practical skills necessary to pursue a career in visual journalism, which is defined here as journalistic storytelling that uses images (still and moving) as the principal narrative form, complemented by text and/or sound. This program would be the first university-level program of its kind in Canada, allowing Concordia University to expand its current program offerings in journalism and reinforce its reputation as a leader of journalism education in Canada.

Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2014 7 12

2.2 Specific knowledge, expertise, skills that students will acquire Within today’s news media landscape, the journalist faces increasing professional demands to provide compelling visual story elements for his/her stories. As a result, these journalists must possess a greater skill set that includes all visual and textual journalistic forms and must be polyvalent and must

be capable of producing:

 still news, feature, and sports photography  professional sound capture  fundamental writing and reporting skills  video journalism and documentary production

–  –  –

 multi-platform packaging and integration As an applied program, the graduate Diploma in Visual Journalism has a main goal of producing skilled graduates who 1) seek a career in still or video visual journalism or 2) need to supplement their professional skill set so they may better perform in today’s multi-platform environment. However, consistent with Concordia’s existing journalism programs, applied-skills courses are complemented by courses in journalism law and ethics, and theoretical foundations of journalism so that the program offers an approach to professional training that integrates skills acquisition with ethical norms and

values and critical analysis. Therefore, this program has four primary learning objectives:

1) Students will learn proper visual story-telling techniques, including basic and advanced news photography (which is broadly defined here as both still and video photography).

2) Students will understand the importance of the visual images along with a combination of sound and text to create a complete multi-platform, journalistic experience.

3) Students will learn professional journalistic practices that emphasize news values, critical thinking, and analytical skills.

4) Students will gain critical understandings of media law and ethics, pertinent theoretical issues, and the international and advocacy dimensions of visual journalism.

Diploma in Visual Journalism, February 27, 2014 8 13 Students will be trained in industry standards and be expected to meet those standards in a professional manner (i.e., meeting deadlines in the execution of newsworthy assignments) and to apply industryspecific cultural norms (e.g., working independently, observing ethical standards). In producing such graduates, the program seeks to professionalize further the practice of visual journalism in Quebec and Canada. At its conclusion, students will collate their production work into a professional portfolio that will be attractive to potential employers and will include a) still photographs and sound recordings that comprise compelling photo essays or slide shows, and b) video segments in the form of reporter packages or mini-documentaries.

This program will attract primarily two applicant groups: 1) post-undergraduate degree students seeking a career in visual journalism (including still news photography or video journalism) or 2) those who have an undergraduate journalism degree and wish to focus on the visual elements of journalistic story-telling. A third group is also targeted: working journalists who wish to increase their professional skill sets to include visual journalism. Because this specialized program is designed to attract a cohort of students who possess some journalism background and education, it is distinct from the current diploma program, which attracts students who have no journalism training and uses a general journalism curriculum. As such, the Diploma Program in Visual Journalism will not compete with the existing diploma program and its distinct applicant pool.

–  –  –

Journalism owes its standing in Canadian society to its recognition as a core institution of democracy.

The proposed graduate Diploma in Visual Journalism is an applied program, with the central purpose of producing highly skilled and critically thinking graduates who seek a career in photojournalism or video journalism. They will be trained in the areas of comprehensive visual story-telling, including still photography, videography, sound and text, along with an understanding of news values, strong analytical skills, and knowledge of media law and ethics, pertinent theoretical issues, and the international and advocacy dimensions of the practice. As with our existing applied programs, students will be trained to professional standards and expected to meet industry standards and behave within the boundaries of industry-specific cultural norms (e.g., meeting deadlines, working independently, observing ethical standards). In producing such graduates, we seek to professionalize the practice of Visual Journalism in Quebec and Canada. This means that students will know how to develop and pitch story ideas, produce well-executed stories across all media platforms, and conduct themselves as ethical and responsible journalists.

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