Laurier’s DMJ program “not getting ‘cancelled,'” says dean

Umaymah Suhail / Editor-in-Chief
The Laurier Brantford campus.

Wilfrid Laurier University’s digital media and journalism program recently took a pause on enrollment in 2023 and students are curious if this is the end of the program.  

Just over a year ago on Feb. 6, 2023, students received an email from the faculty of liberal arts saying that the journalism program at Laurier Brantford was suspending enrollment to look into the program and make changes. The email left current DMJ students with lots of questions about what the future holds for the program and a year later, they’re still confused.  

The email was sent out by the dean of the faculty of liberal arts, Janny Leung. A year later, she still stands by her statement. 

“The program is not getting ‘cancelled,’” said Leung, upon discovering student rumours about the program. “If you keep yourself up to date about other journalism programs in the country, you’ll see a similar thing going on.” 

Regardless of Leung’s promise to the community that the program will continue upon the assessment, students are still wondering which direction the program is heading in.

Just before the 2023-24 school year, the faculty of liberal arts saw a dramatic shift in the DMJ program. The previous head coordinator Bruce Gillespie made a major move over to the user experience design program. With all his background education in journalism, students want to know why he left. Efforts were made to speak to Bruce about his decision, but no response has been given at this time. 

Some students were accepted into the program to later be told that they can no longer enroll in the program. One student, Jessica Jensen, had this exact experience and is now in her first year of English at Laurier Brantford and completing the offered digital media certificate.  

“I already got accepted into the program and committed. I then got a call that they ‘weren’t doing it anymore for first-years,’” said Jensen. “If they had let me know earlier, I probably would’ve pursued journalism at another university.” 

Other students, like professors, left the program and moved on due to issues with the program. Anthony Nadar transitioned to a film program at George Brown College after his second year at Laurier Brantford. Nadar explained he was losing passion for the field after taking some classes.

He expressed that the current program didn’t show students how to work in modern journalism, but rather traditional journalism, which is quickly diminishing. 

“If they could show us how to properly navigate what to look for [with journalism on social media], that would’ve kept me more intrigued,” said Nadar. “Journalism really wasn’t intriguing me the way it used to… I was being taught how filtered our media is by government and I didn’t like having that filter.” 

It is still undecided when the program will be revised and ready for Laurier to resume enrolement.

This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 8 on Thursday, April 4.

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