Vision statement of the School of Journalism and Media Studies
The School of Journalism and Media Studies strives to contribute to the commitment expressed in the South African Constitution to "heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights, [and to] lay the foundations for a democratic and open society".
Our vision is informed by the following understanding of the media:
The media constitutes one of the powerful institutions that mediate our relation to, and experience of, the world.
The nature of such mediation is conditioned by the media’s particular political, economic, technological and historical contexts.
Consequently, these mediations contribute to the production and reproduction of the dominant relations of inequality that structure social life, and are implicated in questions of gender, class, culture, race, geography, sexuality, etc.
The School aims to produce self-reflexive, critical, analytical graduates and media workers, whose practice is probing, imaginative, civic minded and outspoken. Such graduates are equipped to act as thoughtful, creative and skilled journalists and media practitioners, who are able to make meaningful and technically proficient media productions.
The School seeks to make valuable intellectual contributions to the broader African media environment, to research, and to facilitate the integrated and ongoing education of media practitioners.
As an addendum to the School of Journalism and Media Studies vision and mission, the convergence statement outlines critical and responsive approaches in our teaching, research and community service, which acknowledge the influence and the challenges of digital convergence on the transformation of journalism practice, media production, distribution and use.
Download the full JMS Convergence Statement here.
History and methodology
In its more than 40 years of existence, the Rhodes University School of Journalism and Media Studies (JMS) has become internationally renowned as Africa’s preeminent media education institution and one of the finest in the world. A large part of this success is due to the holistic education JMS provides, combining media theory with hands-on application, imparting insight, knowledge and world-class skill sets. More than anything, this seamless integration of intellectual study with media production allows the school to generate graduates that not only have the technical abilities to contribute to the media industry from the get-go, but also have the wherewithal to apply their minds to the bigger picture of the constantly developing role that media plays in society and its socio-economic context. In short, JMS graduates exude both an evolved level of thinking and superb technical prowess. It is no wonder then that some of Africa’s most respected media scholars and industry practitioners are JMS alumni, working in newsrooms and institutions around the world, from major publications to some of the most respected broadcasters on earth.
Indeed, everything about JMS students’ education is geared at not only promoting their academic development, but also accurately replicating the kind of professional environments they will one day work in, which is why the school’s Africa Media Matrix building (AMM) is the most sophisticated journalism education environment in Africa, including television, photography and radio studios and editing suites, newsroom environments and a variety of computer labs. These spaces, coupled with compulsory internships throughout their studies, as well as working the JMS owned publishing and online media house, Grocott’s Mail, give JMS students a strong taste of what to expect after graduating, powerfully preparing them to enter the media industry with tried and tested ability and aplomb.
Finally, combined with this environment of academic excellence and technical prowess, are a number of JMS projects and initiatives such as Highway Africa that is dedicated to the development of African journalism and which hosts the largest annual media conference on the continent at JMS; CueMedia, which provides the annual Grahamstown National Arts Festival with its own daily newspaper, online television station and web site, and radio programming; the Sol Plaatje Media Leadership Institute that is the JMS media management training arm, providing both postgraduate diplomas and short courses in various facets of media management; and PSAM, the Public Service Accountability Monitor whose activities in terms of public service performance monitoring also feed into the curriculum offered to students on issues such as national, provincial and local government reporting. Ultimately, all of these available resources to students and media practitioners create a dynamic space where media is studied, dissected, analysed and produced in a way that develops outstanding journalists, media workers and researchers that can truly contribute to their industry and the world as a whole.