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VIU Launches Minor in Journalism

Thanks to a nudge from students and a lot of work by VIU’s Creative Writing and Journalism (CREW) faculty, VIU is now offering students an opportunity to get a Minor in Journalism. Up until now, even if students had taken journalism courses, their degrees didn’t reflect that, instead showing a more general certification of bachelor in creative writing.

“Over the years students questioned us about getting a journalism credential, as many wanted to pursue careers in the field and felt their degrees should reflect that they’d studied journalism,” says Rich Dunstan, instructor in the department. “But it was former student, Wawmeesh (George) Hamilton, who really encouraged us to pursue creating this minor. Hamilton now works for the Alberni Valley News and he emailed me after he graduated, to say ‘you guys can and should offer a minor in journalism’.”

With Hamilton’s encouragement and support from Ross MacKay, Dean of Arts & Humanities; Steve Lane, Associate Vice-President: Academic Planning and Aboriginal Initiatives; Mike Taugher, Chair of the Theatre Department; Susan Juby, Chair of CREW and CREW faculty Steve Guppy and Frank Moher, Dunstan started researching what would be required to set up the program. “It was a fairly complicated process, but with all of us working together we managed to put together the necessary elements.”

The courses in the program draw on the expertise of faculty and cover a variety of topics including: Newswriting and Research, Online Magazine Production, Writing Feature Articles, and a course that’s run by the Media Studies department called Making the News. VIU was already running all these programs but now they’re packaged together to allow students to get their minor in journalism credential. Because the program is a minor, students are encouraged to major in another subject, particularly one they’d be interested in writing about.

“I don’t think it’s a good thing for journalists to know nothing but journalism,” says Dunstan. “I believe the more students know about a wide variety of topics, the better journalists they’ll be. It’s also good for society as a whole to have trained journalists who have a broad knowledge base so they can competently write about a variety of topics and issues.”

To find out more about VIU’s new Minor in Journalism visit the Creative Writing web site or call Rich Dunstan at 250.753.3245, Extension 2110.

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