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Athabasca University

Program/Course News

Communication Studies tutor Kisha McPherson recently completed her PhD in the Faculty of Education at York University.

Kisha's dissertation focused on identity development, intersectionality, and inequity in the education of Black girls in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, Kisha's research also takes a cultural studies approach to engage topics related to media, cultural appropriation, gender, and critical race theory.

Kisha is a proud BPA graduate and she has been tutoring in the program since 2008. Moving forward, she will prioritize publishing scholarly material and commit to further research related to race, gender, and media. Kisha will also use her research focus to encourage AU students to advance deeper analysis of sensitive and critical topics in communication and media studies.

Eyewitness Textures: User Generated Content & News Coverage in the 21st Century

Symposium May 23-24, 2019
MacEwan University, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Student Registration is free!

Symposium will be livestreamed:

Among the many changes introduced by new media technologies to news practices, the growing utilization of User Generated Content (UGC) is one of the most challenging. Members of the public are capturing dramatic events around the world and then sharing them, not only on social media platforms, but with professional news media organizations which are eagerly incorporating posts, tweets and images into professionally produced news stories. The presence of amateur content in news discourses is a growing phenomenon that is reshaping the profession of journalism, news coverage and public expectations.

Join us for a discussion among news journalists and scholars about the many issues raised by user generated content in the newsroom.

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speaker on May 23 will be Pr. Lilie Chouliaraki, Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main research interest lies in the histories and challenges of mediated suffering. Dr. Chouliaraki’s work has focused on three domains in which the human body-in-need appears as a problem of communication: i) disaster news, ii) humanitarian campaigns & celebrity advocacy, iii) war & conflict reporting. She has published extensively on how digital platforms and genres (twitter, mobile phone footage, selfies) are fundamentally changing conflict reporting and the witnessing of war today.

The keynote speaker on May 24 will be Dr. Mette Mortensen, Associate Professor of media studies at the University of Copenhagen and a CARGC Faculty Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communication.
She is the Principal Investigator of the large, collective research project “Images of Conflict, Conflicting Images” (2017-2021). She is the author or editor of seven books, including the monograph Eyewitness Images and Journalism: Digital Media, Participation, and Conflict (Routledge 2015).

News Organizations

The symposium will also host presentations by: Derek Thomson, Editor-in-Chief of the Observer Program from France24; Aoife Gallagher, News Intelligence Strategist, Storyful; Derek Bowler, Head of Social Newsgathering, Eurovision News Exchange; Shauna Rempel, National Managing Editor, Social Media Distribution, CTV Global; Paul Moore, Executive Producer of News, CBC Edmonton; and Natalie Miller, Assistant Editor, UGC HUB,BBC.

Please visit the Eyewitness Textures Symposium website for more details and registration.

See the information Flyer and Poster.

For more information, please send queries to

New Course: CMNS 419 Digital Storytelling

This course explores a variety of storytelling frameworks and asks you to create your own story project. Stories—and the ability to tell them—are assuming a new primacy in contemporary culture, largely through socialmedia. Blogs, YouTube, Flickr, Wikipedia, Pinterest, Facebook, and are symptomatic of the popularization of personal narratives in digital media. Even as the nature of contemporary stories morph in their articulation into new forms as diverse as computer games, narrative medicine, and organizational storytelling, they remain as essential as breathing.

Making Submissions to the CRTC: A Citizen’s Guide

This handy guide, written by Michael Lithgow, and illustrated by Karen Wall, was first posted here in 2017. Since it's a useful resource for students and other citizens, we're reposting it now. It introduces the CRTC and outlines how citizens can publicly participate with the CRTC. The booklet describes the policy process that the CRTC uses, how to make written submissions, and prepares users for making presentations at public hearings.

Updated November 08 2019 by Student & Academic Services

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