Carleton breaks ground on journalism education with development of new courses

By Jena Lynde-Smith

Carleton’s journalism program is breaking ground with a number of new journalism courses in the coming academic year intended to put more focus on Black Canadian journalism, freelancing, trauma-informed reporting and the basics of journalistic writing.

The new courses – History of Black Canadian Journalism, Entrepreneurial Journalism, Trauma-Informed Journalism and Writing with Style – will be added to the list of journalism courses starting in September. Taught by four faculty members who specialize in these areas, the classes are expected to be highly sought after.

“These exciting new courses – as well as the ongoing adaptation of our existing curriculum – speak to the dramatic changes in Canada’s journalism landscape and our attempts to better equip our students for the careers that await them,’’ said Prof. Allan Thompson, the Journalism Program Head.

JOUR 3401: History of Black Canadian Journalism

Carleton University’s Journalism School is making history with a trailblazing offering in the fall semester. Prof. Adrian Harewood has created a pioneering new course entitled The History of Black Canadian Journalism, the first of its kind ever taught at Carleton or any other journalism school in Canada. The course will chart the development of Black Canadian journalism going back to its beginnings in the 1850s to the present day.

It will tell the story of pioneering journalists like Henry Bibb & Mary Ann Shadd, enduring publications like London, Ontario’s Dawn of Tomorrow, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia’s crusading Carrie Best and her trailblazing 1940s-era paper The Clarion, and maverick publisher Al Hamilton whose ground-breaking Toronto-based paper CONTRAST rose to prominence in the 1970s.

“We will look at the role the Black press played in Black communities across the country and consider how these publications and media outlets treated the major stories of the day,”  Harewood said. “We will also examine how the mainstream press has portrayed Black peoples and communities over the last two centuries.”

Harewood’s course will run in the fall 2022 term on Tuesdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m.

JOUR 5001: Entrepreneurial Journalism

Carleton’s journalism program will now be offering a compulsory graduate-level course focused on freelancing. Taught by Prof. Brett Popplewell, Entrepreneurial Journalism will prepare Master of Journalism students to work in a diverse market that values entrepreneurial skills and mindset, from freelancing to starting their own venture.

The course is designed to help students navigate a journalism industry in flux. Students will work individually and together on pitches for a variety of clients, developing their own client lists and their own new media brands while also working to build themselves into effective freelancers. They will have the opportunity to analyze the fundamentals of the freelance existence and learn from entrepreneurial journalists who have created their own media brands.

“One of the main objectives of this course is to help students understand the value of their ideas and their skills,” Popplewell said. “To get to that understanding we look at how to market those ideas and skills well beyond the traditional newsroom. This course isn’t about selling one type of story to one type of client. We look at best practices for freelancers working with a variety of clients. Students also work together to develop entrepreneurial ideas into viable new media brands.”

Entrepreneurial Journalism is running in the winter 2023 term on Thursdays from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

JOUR 4101: Trauma-Informed Journalism

Trauma-Informed Journalism is the first standalone course of it’s kind in Canada. Taught by Prof. Matthew Pearson, it is designed to build a greater understanding of trauma and its effect on survivors into students’ journalistic practice.

The course will prepare students for the ethical, practical, and emotional challenges of reporting accurately and sensitively on traumatic events and individuals who have experienced trauma. Young journalists at the dawn of their careers, whether they graduate into jobs in traditional newsrooms or work on their own, need to know how to report on people immersed in traumatic situations, as well as how to process the trauma they are exposed to in the pursuit of their work.

“We have a responsibility to prepare students to interact with and interview people who have experienced trauma and loss, while simultaneously highlighting the importance of their own mental health and well-being as journalists,” Pearson said. “That’s what this course will aim to do. Reporting on trauma and survivors is never easy, which is why it is crucial to develop skills to do this work ethically and sensitively.”

Trauma-Informed Journalism is running in the winter 2023 term on Thursdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m.

JOUR 1004: Writing with Style

Writing with Style is a brand new first-year journalism course, developed and taught by Prof. Trish-Audette Longo. It is designed for students who want to sharpen their writing and editing skills as they  prepare for future reporting courses and professional work in online journalism, media and other fields that demand writing with clarity.

Students in the course will engage with a range of journalistic writing through shared readings and writing exercises. They will learn how to write with an active voice, navigate Canadian Press Style guidelines and accurately introduce other people’s perspectives to their own writing through direct quotes and paraphrasing. The course is an optional companion to the foundational courses JOUR 1001: Journalism in Context and JOUR 1002: Practicing Journalism in a Diverse Society.

“From Day 1, we’ll be getting to work on writing,” said Audette-Longo. “That means reading and discussing great examples of journalism, learning about Canadian Press style guidelines and getting words down on pages.”

Writing with Style is running in the fall 2022 term on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.