By Jonah Brunet
A degree in sport media is one step closer to finding a home between Ryerson’s Schools of Journalism and Radio and Television Arts (RTA) thanks to a new program, the first of its kind in Canada, opening this fall.
RTA Chair Charles Falzon proposed the program, which will offer the same television, radio and digital production courses as the current RTA program, along with the journalistic communication courses needed for sport reporting, and courses in sport business offered by the Ted Rogers School of Management.
“It’s going to be a very specialized program,” said Ryerson Provost John Isbister, who oversees academic affairs such as the creation of new programs. “I think there’s a lot of interest in potential students.” Some current students say they would have been interested in sport media even though they are a year too late to apply.
“I would have definitely looked into it and applied for it,” said Aja Jones, who is in his first year of RTA.
Jones, who hopes to make it on air as a sport broadcaster on either radio or television, wishes that his program had more of a focus on sports. He said that knowledge of the industry would be helpful to someone with his aspirations.
Journalism student Josh Beneteau, however, said he would likely have chosen journalism even if the sport media program were offered when he applied last year.
Beneteau wants to be a sports writer, and said it was Hockey Night in Canada that made him want to be a journalist in the first place.
“The reason I decided to go into this program is because there are so many good sports journalists that have come out of it,” Beneteau said.
He used Bob McKenzie, who enrolled in Ryerson journalism in 1976, as an example. Today, McKenzie is the pre-eminent authority on the NHL at TSN, and Beneteau hopes to follow a similar path.
For someone like Beneteau, sport media would not be a good fit.
“It’s not really a journalism program at all,” said Falzon, stressing that sport media focused on broadcasting techniques, along with an understanding of sport business and marketing.
Falzon added that several executives in the sport industry contributed to the development of the program, and that students in the program would learn sport broadcasting through coverage of Ryerson athletics.
Sport media will fit comfortably with its faculty of communications and design counterparts, and could offer new opportunities to current RTA and journalism students.
The journalism program currently offers a course called reporting sports that is similar to courses that will be offered by sport media. But once the new program is launched, reporting sports will be offered as a part of sport media.
“A course like reporting sports is only offered once every two years,” said Shapiro. “Our students will be thrilled because they’ll have an opportunity to take that course more often.”
Isbister agrees, saying that any effects on current programs will only be to their advantage.
“It will probably give options to people in RTA that don’t exist now,” he said.