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How Journalism at Langara College Meets the Changing Communications Landscape

Learn how the program is broadening to include new career opportunities.

Langara College 8 Mar 2021 | TheTyee.ca

“If you are thinking about going back to post-secondary education before the pandemic is over, my advice is to go for it,” writes Langara College journalism student Norman Galimski in the Squamish Chief, where he was an intern. Galimski argues that “[remote learning] makes you actively learn the material and pushes you to collaborate with other students — which really helps you in a meaningful way.”

Regardless of delivery method, students entering Langara College’s journalism program this September will discover a fully refreshed curriculum to meet the demands of the multimedia storytelling environment into which they will emerge upon graduation.

Delivering valuable and credible information within the growing field of digital media requires a unique set of skills, including in-depth research, agility with multi-platform storytelling and knowledge of how the media industry is currently constituted.

Fast facts about journalism at Langara: The one-year certificate program is designed for those with some post-secondary education or professional experience to take specialized journalism and communications training at an accelerated pace. The two-year diploma program is intended for high school graduates and those seeking a foundation in journalism and communications.

In their second year, students build on that foundation with advanced concentrations as well as non-journalism subjects, allowing each student to tailor their program to suit their interests, career goals or plans for subsequent study.

Department chair and instructor Effie Klein puts the new program in context: “Journalism and communication are both fields that are media-based and in transition right now, and both require the research skills and storytelling ability of journalism graduates. Today’s grad needs a wider range of skills, but there’s also a wider array of careers — now, more than ever before. Our new program is about giving them options.”

“Jobs that require similar skills to journalism — like public relations and photography — have grown substantially,” says data blogger and former Vancouver Sun journalist Chad Skelton. The professional fields that require these skills are incredibly broad.

“The thing I most like about this certificate is that it will allow me to use it toward both journalism and communication jobs,” says current certificate student Breanne Doyle. “It touches on a lot of the different things you can do with your certificate: freelance copy editing, social media managing, podcast hosting, etc.”

This sentiment was echoed by Galimski: “[Y]ou get to choose what you want to be best at and focus your time and efforts into what you want to do.” When asked what drew him to Langara specifically, he replied, “I chose to study at Langara because I’ve studied there before — I got a diploma of kinesiology. I know that the professors and staff are some of the best and that they care about the students. So far, the journalism program has reflected that.”

Doyle was also drawn to the certificate program for its accelerated pace. “The cost was a major factor in me choosing Langara. Because I already have a certificate... I didn’t necessarily want to jump into another expensive program and be even more in debt.”

When asked if she had any advice for prospective students, Doyle was keen to make clear that this program is very comprehensive: “This is a great school and a great program if you want to learn a lot of new skills right away, but it’s up to you how you master those skills.”

Degree transfer agreements between Langara College and four-year institutions allow students who are seeking bachelor’s degrees in journalism and communications to move on to institutions that recognize their two years at Langara with full academic credit (Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Richmond and Royal Roads University on Vancouver Island are two such institutions).

The Ministry of Advanced Education surveys graduates across the province in a report called the B.C. Student Outcomes survey. In the 2017–2019 survey results, Langara alumni who hold journalism diplomas reported an impressive 79-per-cent confirmation that the knowledge and skills gained (in the program) were useful in their career. That figure jumps to 85 per cent among certificate alumni.

Journalism faculty member Erica Bulman says: “Instructors are highly invested in the program’s students. Because the classes are small, there is a high instructor-to-student ratio. Students get a lot of attention, direction and care from experts who are among the best in the industry.”

To learn more about their journalism programs, visit www.langara.ca/journalism.  [Tyee]

Read more: Education, Media

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