Loyalist College is adding a one-year post-graduate program in Sports Journalism for those looking to enhance their employment opportunities by building upon their existing college diploma or university degree. It has been developed for students who want to specialize in sports journalism with an emphasis on broadcast media. The first intake will be in September 2008.
“The Sports Journalism program will include courses that will encourage students to recognize that being a sports journalist means more than just reporting the score of the game,” explained Professor Mary Jollimore. “Sport is a microcosm of society. Politics, business, medicine and ethical issues, such as cheating and doping, are all endemic in sport. Look at what’s happening in the United States where Congress recently held public hearings into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in major league baseball. Right now, there’s a debate over whether countries should boycott the Beijing Olympics in August because of China’s record on human rights. You can’t ignore those kinds of issues if you want to be a sports journalist.
“We’ll also have a course in sport psychology and sociology. Students will recognize how the sport world reflects society. Our tax dollars provide monthly allowances to Olympic athletes. Tax dollars often are used to build sport stadiums. Canada has had an official federal government policy on sport since 1961. We want students to see the big picture.”
When Mary Jollimore graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in 1979 she was a self-described political junkie and admits to being hooked on watching the House of Commons Question Period. “People who knew me then think it’s odd that I ended up spending more than 20 years covering sports. I got to travel around the world, cover a lot of sports events and meet a lot of fascinating people. Then, when I went back to university to do a masters degree, I spent a year in the library reading about sport sociology. That was intriguing. So it’s certainly been an adventure.”
Students will complete workshops to become proficient in the technology required in radio and television newsrooms. They will learn to use the necessary computer software and how to shoot and edit stories for television. Once they’ve gained technical proficiency, they will become sports reporters integrated into the existing television and radio newsrooms at Loyalist. During the winter term, the students will produce, host and report stories for their own radio and television programs broadcast by the College.
“For years the sportscaster role in both television and radio has been a strong interest for a large number of Broadcast Journalism students and yet we have been unable to provide the breadth of sports curriculum to allow the students to develop the extra knowledge and skills to land those high profile jobs,” explained Geoff Cudmore, Associate Vice-President Academic. “At the same time there has been a proliferation of specialist sports channels that demand a far stronger knowledge base for sports analysis than simply reading the scores. At TSN for example, you have to pass a tough sports quiz to even get an interview. Graduates of this program will be much more than just fans.”