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Sault College approves new journalism program

Sault College's board of governors has approved the fifth and final component of its new School of Media and Design.

Sault College's board of governors has approved the fifth and final component of its new School of Media and Design.

Journalism - The new media will be the last component of the college's new school, subject to approval by the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

Colin Kirkwood, the college's dean of natural environment, technology and skilled trades said Journalism - The New Media will be an Ontario college graduate certificate program.

It will be an adaptable, full-time, 32-week program aimed at graduates of other college or university programs.

"It's designed for journalism graduates or students from other areas who may want to specialize in journalism," Kirkwood told members of the college's board.

Graduates of Journalism - The new media will be able to work independently, self-employed or in smaller organizations and communities offering local in-depth news coverage in a variety of media, Kirkwood said.

They could also use new-media techniques to broadcast news and information about the field they specialized in, such as green technology, the environment or technology.

As part of the program, each student will create a news site from the ground up, incorporating design elements and generating content in video, podcasting, print, photographic and graphic media that focus on topics and issues the student is interested in.

"We provide the space, they provide the content," said Kirkwood.

Students will become familiar with effective usage of new-media techniques including blogging, tweeting, podcasting and webcasting.

Kirkwood said there's an acute need for small and isolated communities to tell their own stories and share news of what's happening locally.

The new media offer a means to do that inexpensively and Sault College's Journalism - The New Media program will train journalists and other specialists on how to effectively meet that need.

Students who want to enrol in Sault College's program will have to possess a postsecondary diploma or degree.

Alternatively, they can be admitted if they demonstrate competence through related work or educational experiences.

Sault College will officially open its School of Media and Design in the fall of 2010.

At its outset, the school will consist of five program components but Kirkwood told board members more programs will be added in 2011.

The journalism - new media program was approved by the board Thursday and will now be submitted to the ministry for approval.

At its meeting, the board also received news that three other component programs for the School of Media and Design have been approved by the ministry and are eligible for full funding.

Web animation and design; video game art; and digital photography imaging were approved late in November along with renewable energy and green construction techniques, another program submitted for approval last month.

The fifth component program of the School of Media and Design is graphic design, an existing program in the college.

This program will have options to specialize in graphic design for the new media in its more advanced courses.