What's new and notable at the Ryerson School of Journalism
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November 2014 
New Curriculum for RSJ
Focus on entrepreneurial and digital skills 
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"Seismic change" in journalism has prompted the Ryerson School of Journalism to launch a new curriculum for the next academic year.

The RSJ proposal, which was approved by the Senate on Oct. 7, focuses on teaching entrepreneurial journalism, offering new interdisciplinary opportunities and allowing minors in journalism. The new plan integrates new and evolving digital skills across the school's foundational courses.

According to the proposal, journalists need to be able to produce in a variety of media platforms. The changes to the curriculum will prepare students for a digital-first news culture and the burgeoning entrepreneurial work environment while continuing to teach reporting essentials.

"For some time now we've been aware that things are moving incredibly fast in the journalism business, and that our students' career paths are highly diverse," journalism chair Ivor Shapiro said.

"For those reasons we started talking as faculty members about our curriculum and consulting students and industry people."

Shapiro said the new curriculum follows a framework that is nimble. "Change occurs now in the journalism business so rapidly. We need to be able to inject new skills, new habits new tricks for our students on the fly," he said. (Full Story)

RSJ Grad Honoured
Fifth Estate's Lysanne Louter garners first Emmy

Ryerson journalism graduate Lysanne Louter has been awarded an International Emmy for her work on an investigative documentary.

CBC's The Fifth Estate debuted Made in Bangladesh last year. It examines the unfit working conditions in the Bangladesh garment industry following the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory. The factory supplied to many large Canadian retailers, such as Loblaw Cos. Ltd. and Walmart Canada. The collapse killed more than 1,100 people.

The documentary was awarded an International Emmy on Sept. 30, 2014. It was the first project that Louter worked on after joining The Fifth Estate team. She directed and produced the documentary.

Louter is the youngest producer on the show by at least a decade. She says The Fifth Estate is her first full-time, non-contract position since graduating in 2004. She joined the program last April and travelled to Dhaka, Bangladesh to film the documentary in August. (Full Story)

Five COPA nods for The Ryersonian
The Ryersonian has received five nominations for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards including best media website, best news coverage, best blog/column, best infographic and best interactive story. 

The nominations represent the work of 12 students. The winners will be announced at the COPA party on Nov. 20, 2014 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. For the complete list of nominees, visit  COPA 2014 list of nominees.

James Turk inaugural lecture on academic freedom

In his inaugural lecture as a Ryerson Distinguished Visiting Professor within the School of Journalism, Dr. James L. Turk, former executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, will argue that, ironically, well �intentioned efforts to insist upon civility and respectful discourse are the major threats to academic freedom today. His Nov. 13 talk will explore the consequences of civil discourse and respectful workplace policies, and suggest that these policies may undermine the university's unique role in society. (Full Story)

 Thursday, Nov. 13 at the Eaton Lecture Theatre at 6:30 pm.

Discover RSJ

Prospective students: Discover Ryerson on Nov. 6

Ryerson University's journalism hopefuls will have a chance to see what student life is like at the RSJ on Nov. 6.

The school-wide event, Discover Ryerson, is an annual occasion that aims to educate prospective students on Ryerson's various programs.

"It's always exciting to meet with students interested in journalism," says assistant professor Lisa Taylor, who will give a presentation on the school and its new curriculum. "The question of what to do after high school is such a tough choice ... I'm really heartened to see students who aren't leaving it to the last minute."

Under the new curriculum, students will work across all platforms beginning in their first year. The school will also offer different labs for, as Taylor puts it, "the tech-savvy and the tech-phobic."

The journalism-specific orientation will begin at 12 p.m. with a pizza lunch in the Venn Reporting Centre, RCC-103. At 1:30 p.m., current students will start tours of the school's editing suites, television studios, equipment distribution office and the Ryersonian and Ryerson Review of Journalism newsrooms. A brief Q-and-A session in the Venn will follow. About 100 students and parents are expected to attend this year's journalism events.

All this will happen after the school-wide event from 10:00 a.m. to 12 p.m., where Ryerson's programs will showcased at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

Grads at Work
Graeme Smith (RSJ '09 - left in 2001 and came back to finish in 2009)

Currently: Senior analyst for the International Crisis Group in Afghanistan

How has your experience at Ryerson benefited your career?

The most valuable thing was getting to hang out at The Eyeopener. A lot of my friends at the paper are still my friends.
Learning how to put together a newspaper by doing it was valuable. Having a venue to make my mistakes was valuable. It was also a lesson on how to work hard. I don't think I ever worked as hard in my life before I got [to Ryerson]. I probably haven't worked as hard since then. I was doing shifts part time at the Toronto Star in the radio room. I was trying to keep up with school. I was putting 40-50 hours a week at the paper -you know, sleeping on the couch and not really showering properly. It was a grinding experience but well worth it. (Full story)

Grads at Work 
is an occasional series of profiles of RSJ alums. If you know of a notable grad you'd like to see featured, send us an email at office.journalism@ryerson.ca. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Feryn)

Public Lecture
Kamal Al-Solaylee on gay rights in the Arab world

The warning was ominous.

"Egypt is arresting LGBT people, and police may be posing as LGBT on social media to entrap you. Please be careful about arranging meetings with people you don't know, and be careful about posting anything that might reveal your identity."

The alert, which appeared last September in a widely circulated photo from Grindr, the networking app for gay men, illustrates the extent of Egypt's increased crackdown on members of the LGBT community, says Ryerson journalism professor Kamal Al-Solaylee.

"Sadly, this is where we are at," he told about 100 people attending his Oct. 1 presentation entitled "Is a Gay Rights Movement Possible in the Arab World?" "Technology that's helping the LGBT community get together and strike an activist note is the same technology being used by the state to suppress it."

Al-Solaylee is no stranger to gay rights. During his formative years in Yemen, Beirut and Cairo, he discovered he was gay. When he moved to Toronto from England in 1996, he started writing for the gay news magazine Xtra. His 2013 book, Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, which detailed his struggles with being gay in a society that did not condone it, was released to critical acclaim and won the 2013 Toronto Book Award. (Full story)

Panel Discussion
Is There "Honour" in Violence?

Honour-related violence is a topic fraught with misconceptions related to violence against women and common stereotypes about diverse communities.  METRAC brings a panel that will explore how media covers the term. The panelists will demonstrate what the media is getting right, hidden narratives that are being missed and promising new approaches. There are many myths about this violence in our society, but, through insightful coverage, the media can play prominent role in changing society's perception. 


Tuesday, Nov. 18 at 12:30 p.m. in the Sears Atrium - George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre.


Upcoming Events

November 6, 2014
(The Venn - RCC 103, 12:00pm - 4:00pm)

(RCC 204, 6:30pm)

November 17, 2014
(Alumni Room - Mattamy Athletic Centre, 12:00pm -3:00pm)

November 18, 2014
(Sears Atrium - George Vari Engineering & Computing Centre, 12:30pm - 2:00pm)

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RSJ Wire
The RSJ WIRE (www.rsjwire.ca and @rsj_wire) distributes our students' best work from j-school courses, internships, course partnerships and freelance work. 


Don't be a stranger!

Alumni can stay connected in several ways: 
  • Volunteer to be your newsroom's contact to help us stay in touch or find partnership opportunities. 
  • Contribute to J-Source, Canada's journalism portal, whose editorial centre is now housed at Ryerson. 
  • Join other alumni to foster journalism in the developing world, starting in the winter of 2015 (see above).
  • Take a tour of the School. 
Whatever your choice, let us know and we'll be in touch.

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