Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts

Saint Michael's Journalism

Media and journalism education at Saint Michael's has a strong reputation among working journalists, academics and employers familiar with our award-winning student publications, job-ready and technically savvy graduates, and innovative leadership on the latest story-telling technologies. Our curriculum is geared to address the demands and potential of current technologies for today's professional communicators.

For example, the Wilderness Photography class partnered with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing to create multimedia presentations for its web site. During the first week of class students met with the department’s director of communications to assess its marketing needs. For the rest of the summer sessions, students conducted research and field work and produced videos.

Read our student's work in the The Defender, the College's award-winning student newspaper, which strives to create high quality journalism. 

The Defender

As a Media Studies student, you will learn to write quickly, accurately and under deadline pressure. You will learn to conduct research using traditional and electronic sources. You will acquire a deep understanding of the ethical and legal responsibilities associated with being a communicator - whether in the newsroom or the marketplace. And you will develop a mastery of current technologies, including multimedia, digital photography, digital video and digital audio and social media.

Since today's journalist must be a generalist's generalist - a Renaissance person in an age of specialization - we insist that each student obtain firm grounding in the liberal arts. You’ll find that beyond teaching you specific essential skills, we also continually promote your broad and perceptive understanding of society.

As a St. Mike's "MJD" major you'll gain basic journalistic skills such as news-writing, editing and information gathering, grounding in the ethical responsibilities of a professional communicator, awareness of connections among various technologies and the messages delivered through them, and international understanding (ideally including study abroad).

There are two versions of the Media Studies & Digital Arts major: one with a journalism concentration, and one without.  Both versions combine the arts and sciences with hands-on communication skills, critical to our students as they learn to become effective communicators in our Information Age.

Whichever version you choose, our curriculum has three core strands that will be present through the classes you take:

1. Media Studies

We focus on the research and analysis of all media types and styles-news, advertising, photography, film, magazines, radio, television, web, and wireless/mobile media. Most broadly, we explore important questions related to the impact and influences that media are having on all of us.

2. Digital Media Arts: Digital Photography, Digital Film, Animation, Interactive Web Design

We produce films, digital photographs, digital audio productions, television productions, TV ads, interactive web designs, animation, wireless/mobile design. We have state-of-the-art computing labs, high-definition video cameras, digital still cameras, broadcast video cameras, digital audio recorders, and a host of web and interactive authoring tools.

3. Journalism: Writing, Reporting, Informed Citizenry 

Our emphasis is on producing interesting and important investigative stories. How can we help make a more informed citizenry? How can we better understand our local, regional, national, and international connections? Visit our online news magazine.

A Global Media & Cross-Cultural Focus

We have a strong international media studies component to the curriculum which includes Global Media, Development, and Culture, Foreign Correspondence, Global Media, Expression, and Identity and a wide range of internationally-oriented courses through Saint Michael's Global Studies Program. We also require all students to study abroad/away at some point during their four years. 

All students develop a comprehensive digital portfolio of the works they produce, which often includes research, thesis, news articles, films, webs, photo essays, and animations. We strongly recommended that students also complete a minor and/or an 18-credit concentration. The minors our students complete span a wide range of fields and disciplines-Global Studies, English, Political Science, Music, Art, Philosophy, Theater, Biology, History, Sociology, Environmental Sciences.

The Department of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts was established in 1974 through grants from the Frank E. Gannett Foundation and other sources, the proceeds of which continue to support the program.

Sample Four Year Plan for Media Studies Majors*

First Year
Fall Spring
MJD 101 Media Revolutions MJD 110 Digital Media
  Foreign Language I    Foreign Language II 
  First Year Seminar    Liberal Studies course 
  Liberal Studies course    Liberal Studies course 
Fall Spring
MJD 205 Reporting for Media MJD 213 Media Law and Ethics
MJD Elective   MJD Elective
  Liberal Studies courses    Liberal Studies courses 
Fall Spring
Study Abroad MJD 250 Global Communication
MJD Elective
      Junior Seminar 
Fall Spring
MJD 450 Senior Seminar Research Proposal  MJD 460 Senior Seminar
MJD Elective Electives

Students wishing to pursue the major with a concentration in journalism should take Multimedia Reporting (MJD 207) and Publication Editing and Design (MJD 411) as two of their electives.

It is also strongly recommended that students take Internship in Media Studies (MJD 413).

* For students who enroll in the fall of 2018.

Allison Cleary, MA

Instructor, Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts
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M.A. Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
B.A. Kenyon College

Prior to coming to Saint Michael's College in 2006, I was senior editor for Eating Well, a national magazine. With a focus on health, social justice and human interest, I also have edited and written for Reader's Digest Health Publications, Da Capo Press and a variety of consumer, non-profit and corporate publications that include books, magazines, newsletters and websites. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Advanced Writing
  • College Writing
  • Feature Writing & the Magazine
  • Investigative Reporting for Print, Web, Radio & Television
  • Media Studies Internship

I often include an element of community engagement in my courses so that students benefit from real-world challenges and community organizations benefit from student learning.

Traci Griffith, JD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts

Contact Professor Griffith

Jeanmarie Hall 169A
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J.D. Notre Dame Law School
M.A. Florida A&M University
B.A. Political Science DePaul University

I began my teaching career as a visiting professor in September 2001 and joined the tenure track faculty one year later. I came to St. Michael’s College from Chicago where I was a correspondent with The Associated Press. I worked as a national editor for The Associated Press broadcast division in Washington D.C.

Utilizing my law degree and my years as a professional journalist, my teaching focuses on Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age and Writing for the Media. I have created a special topics course on Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality in Media and developed a course in Cyber Law.

I currently serve as a board member for The Vermont ACLU, and The Vermont Press Association. I work with numerous local organizations and serve the community through her work focusing on the issues of homelessness, poverty and AIDS.

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program

Contact Professor Hyde

Jeanmarie Hall 164
Box 284
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Courses I Teach:

  • Digital Film
  • Global Communication
  • Multi-media Design
  • Photography

Additionally, I direct graduate research projects in media education and media literacy.

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Kimberly Sultze, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts

Contact Professor Sultze

Saint Edmund's Hall 135
Box 284
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

I came to Saint Michael's from New York University, where I taught in the Department of Culture and Communication, Program in Media Ecology.

Professional Experience:

Prior to earning my academic credentials, I worked in print journalism at The Independent Monthly in Sydney, in television production at KTCA-TV/Twin Cities Public Television, and as an editor with FIS-New York. In 1994, I served as planning director for the Institute on Media Literacy and Education. I have traveled and performed research in Sri Lanka, India, Egypt, Israel, Australia and New Zealand.

Areas of Expertise:

My teaching and research interests include visual communication (digital imaging, photography, film, video and Web design); intercultural communication; the history, criticism, and theory of communication; and the cultural implications of new media techniques and technologies.

Courses I Teach:

  • New Media I and II
  • Senior Seminar
  • Feature Writing: Nature and the Outdoors.

Jerald Swope, MA

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts

Contact Professor Swope

Jeanmarie Hall 169B
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M.A. Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri
B.A. Brown University

Areas of Expertise:

Photojournalism; media literacy; digital design; photo elicitation; interdisciplinary service learning experiences

Courses I Teach:

  • Advanced Visual Storytelling
  • Digital Media; Media Revolutions
  • Photojournalism in the Digital Age

Mike Donoghue

Executive Director, Vermont Press Association

Contact Professor Donoghue

Jeanmarie Hall 169D
Box 273
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I joined the journalism faculty as an adjunct professor at Saint Michael's in September 1985 and also serve as an academic adviser for about 20 students. I have worked for over 40 years as a news and sports writer for The Burlington Free Press, Vermont's leading news source, and have directed the newsroom intern program for over 12 years.

My desire to teach journalism comes from a career filled with a deep interest in helping future journalists. At the College I have taught a variety of courses, primarily Mass Communications and Society, Media Law and Ethics, Practicum and Advanced Reporting. I am also a former co-adviser to The Defender, the award-winning Saint Michael's student newspaper, founded by my late father, John D. Donoghue '32.

I also am a frequent speaker at professional training sessions, schools and other public gatherings. I have served as a trainer to numerous professional groups including the Vermont Press Association, New England Press Association, New England Society of Newspapers Editors and Investigative Reporters and Editors.  I am also called upon to meet with international journalists passing through Vermont and was one of four Americans invited as an instructor at a national conference in Ireland in June 1998 after the passing of that country's Freedom of Information Act. I am well known as a strong advocate of open government and has appeared in court multiple times to fight successfully for the release of court documents or to keep courtroom doors open. I was a founding member of the Vermont Coalition for Open Government (2005). I have been called on regularly to provide testimony before the Vermont legislature on a wide range of First Amendment related issues.

During my two terms (1983-85) as president of the Vermont Press Association, I was instrumental in getting the association anchored at Saint Michael's and with getting cameras into Vermont courtrooms. I am currently the part-time Executive Director of the VPA, which helps provide leads on jobs, internships, scholarships and more to students, while also hosting seminars and speakers. I served two terms on the governing board of the New England Press Association and chaired three committees: publications, legislative and outreach. I was elected in 2011 to serve on the board of the New England First Amendment Coalition. I was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association in 2003, served as its national president for two years (2006-08), and remain on the NSSA board. I also served two terms as president of the Vermont Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. I was elected to three terms on the Board of Trustees at Southern Vermont College.

Some of our graduates are employed in newsrooms all over New England and beyond. Many other graduates are working in web design, film production, photojournalism, advertising, public relations, marketing, and politics (one of our graduates is the press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee). Some are doing jobs that weren’t even invented a decade ago, like Director of Social Media. Others have gone on to a range of graduate programs: law school, media studies, American studies, and other fields.

Recent MJD graduates have job titles like:

  • Journalist
  • Associate Editor
  • Entertainment Editor 
  • Editorial Developer 
  • Communications Specialist
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Technical Writer

To find out more about what our graduates are doing, look at our Media Studies Alumni Profiles.

Working in collaboration with media professionals at media organizations and in corporate and non-profit, media students put theory into practice by producing media in a professional work environment. Possible activites include producing and distributing media, i.e. websites, articles, films, brochures etc. planning and staging media events; researching and evaluating public relations campaigns; and optimization studies. The internship gives students a practical context in which to examine and interpret issues and concepts they have studied in their Media Studies classroom courses.

Internships at Burlington-area news outlets are available and encouraged, offering an important foot in the door. Students can also do valuable internships over the summer in their hometown or while studying abroad.

All Media Studies majors study abroad/away at some point during their four years.  You can choose to study abroad for a full semester or take a shorter faculty-led study trip which provides international media experience while earning 2 academic credits. MJD study trips have included:

China: Chinese Media and Culture

Our Beijing, China trip is the culmination of a semester-long course in MJD program on 21st century Chinese media and culture. The trip involves a comparative cross-cultural perspective on the ways in which 21st century Chinese media users use new digital media platforms for work and play, news and information sharing, and how different Chinese individuals and organizations - the dissident artist Ai Wei Wei, the Long Bow documentary film group, or the Chinese Communist Party - utilize the Internet for information sharing and surveillance.

India: Media Nomads: Youth, Television, Trekking in the Buddhist Himalaya

Ladakh is a high-altitude desert on the Tibetan Plateau in the trans-Himalayan area of northern India between Pakistan and Tibet. It has often been described as “Little Tibet” and is predominantly Tibetan Buddhist.  Until mid-1960s when a road was built to link the region with the rest of the country, Ladakh remained almost totally isolated from the forces of modernization.  In 1975 the region was opened up to foreign tourists and the process of development began in earnest. This course involves anthropological field work on the current processes of globalization and the pressure to modernize among Buddhist youth in Ladakh, primarily focusing on the influence of television. What perceptions of “the West” do Ladakhi youth have? How do these influence their conception of self, daily behaviors and visions of their future? What kinds of pressures to modernize does television now have on Ladakhi youth and how can a more critical awareness of many of television’s myths be taught?

Mongolia & China: In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan

This course explores the historical and cultural connections between Mongolia and China, with a focus on the Mongol Empire of ancient times, the 21st century People’s Republic of China, and the physical and digital walls that divide these two vital regions of Asia today. Students read widely on the China/Mongolia relationship, explore the varied history of this region through multimedia research projects, and travel to Mongolia and China during the last two weeks of May to experience the rich culture and history of this region firsthand. The program schedule includes a 7 day trip into Mongolia and 4 days in Beijing (with visits to the Great Wall of China, including a hike on the Wild Wall).

Tanzania: Applied Health & Development Approaches in East Africa

This service learning course includes an intensive two week field course based at the Ilula Orphan Program (IOP) in Iringa, Tanzania. Students travel to Tanzania to observe first-hand the development challenges related to HIV/AIDS, water scarcity, education, and poverty being addressed by the IOP. The service learning component of the course involves updating the IOP's educational and development materials, including the website, and producing at least one completed grant application. Students are expected to complete this work in a one-week work session following completion of the two weeks in-country.

Professor Kimberly Sultze offers a study-abroad re-entry class. Along with Jon Hyde, she has worked with the college's Study Abroad Office to produce the Global Eyes Competition and Calendar. Student photography from around the world is featured in the calendar, and its production is a practical learning experience.

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