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Ryerson Radio And Television Personal Essay Prompts

The new Sportsnet RTA Production Centre and its professional level equipment. (Laura Calabrese/Ryersonian Staff)

Ryerson is now the place to study for sport media enthusiasts hoping to score big in the industry.

In September, the RTA School of Media welcomed the first cohort of students into its brand new Sport Media program – the first of its kind in Canada.

Schools like Brock University and Sheridan College offer specializations in sport management, technical production and broadcasting, but Ryerson’s program is unique in that students don’t specialize until upper years. By the time convocation rolls around, RTA grads will be well versed in all aspects of sport media production.

“We were finding more and more that a significant number of our students were finding work in that field (sport media) and had an appetite for more studies in that area,”  said Charles Falzon, chair of the school of Radio and Television Arts that houses the program. He proposed it four years ago

Over 600 students applied for 60 spots in the program this year, said program manager Marie Crosta.

When Adam Jenkins found out about the sport media specialization, he said “it seemed like everything I wanted on steroids, so I was really excited. So when I went to apply for it I thought there was no way I was going to get in.”

Jenkins did get in, but it wasn’t easy.

Last year’s applicants submitted an essay, résumé, cover letter and a three-minute video clip about why they want to study sport media. Next year, eligible candidates will be interviewed instead of doing a video.

“If you’re on your sports team that’s great, it means you’re sports-minded, but do you have a YouTube channel? Having and running a YouTube channel tells me you are media aware, that you want to promote, that you want to create. As well as if you’re the key holder at McDonald’s, that tells me you’re a leader,”  Crosta said.

The seed for a sport media program was planted when the newly-branded RTA School of Media was looking at ways to better prepare students for the workplace.

“We had some funding that came with the university — it would make us functional with some basic cameras and the RTA equipment. But, we also knew that if we were going to be the first we were going to be under scrutiny, so we wanted to be the best,” Falzon said.

In March, Rogers-owned Sportsnet announced it would give the new program a $750,000 capital investment.

Scott Moore, president of Sportsnet and NHL Properties for Rogers Media, made the donation possible. An RTA graduate, Moore now sits on the advisory committee for the sport media program.

The school’s advisory committee is full of sports industry heavyweights — many of them RTA grads.

Senior vice-president of production at TSN Mark Milliere, senior producer with CBC Sports Karen Sebesta, and play-by-play voice at CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada Jim Hughson each hold a committee seat.

“The uptake from the sports industry has been phenomenal from the start. That’s one of the reasons we know we did the right thing by starting this program,” said program director for sport media Dana Lee.

Ryerson president Sheldon Levy said the school also received $500,000 in support from different technology partners — Evertz Microsystems Ltd., Fugi Films, Ross Video and Sony.

Canadian Tire director Martha Billes also made a donation, helping to create the Martha Billes media room at the MAC.

The program’s connection to the Ted Rogers School of Management and the business side of sports is subjective,  Falzon said. Students can minor in whatever they want, but he said sports marketing or a business minor is recommended.

This being the program’s first year, the curriculum is still in the experimental stage. Courses will be watched carefully to see where they can be improved.

Students are confident that despite the program’s infancy, the specialization will open doors for them in the future.

Sport Media is brand new. Sixty of us are entering, I’m not sure 60 of us will graduate, but when we do we’ll be the only cohort of people with that (degree),”  Jenkins said. “You’re almost guaranteed employment because again, you’re the only people with that degree.”

The launch of the new RTA Sport Media program and the official unveiling of the state-of-the-art Sportsnet RTA Production Centre is Oct. 23 at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.

A Concentration is a structured plan of study within a program (6 to 12 core or professional electives) that provides an opportunity for advanced or in-depth study in a particular area of interest. Concentrations are not required but most RTA students are encouraged to complete one which they can designate (declare) to note on their transcript.  Students can designate their concentration on RAMSS. 

List of courses and concentrations for Media Production:

Radio and Sound
Students will complete RTA 311 plus five (5) of the following:

Television and Video
Students will complete either RTA 313 or RTA 314* plus four (4) of the following:

RTA 908Business of Producing I
RTA 909Business of Producing II 
RTA 910Production Management
RTA 911Directing and Performance
RTA 912The Audience 
RTA 913Media Entrepreneurship 
RTA 955Sports Broadcasting
RTA 956Children's Programming
RTA 957Documentary Production
RTA 960Selected Topics in International Media
RTA 969Television Technical Producing
RTA 970Lighting, Grip and Effects Specialty
RTA 973Independent Production
RTA 975Video Compositing and Special Effects
RTA 977Current Affairs Production
RTA 978Editing Specialty
RTA 979Advanced Television Editing 
RTA 983Video Production – Advanced
* RTA 313 and RTA 314 have a GPA weight of 2.00 and a course count of 2.00.

Digital Media
Students will complete six (6) of the following:

RTA 221Experiential Media & Interdisciplinary Practice 
RTA 222Intro to Computational Art
RTA 223Intro to Experience Design
RTA 317Digital Media for Evolving Audiences
RTA 320Interactive Storytelling 
RTA 321Intro to Tangible Media 
RTA 925Making Objects
RTA 928Gaming Theory and Practice
RTA 929Multi-platform Narrative
RTA 930Social Practices in Hybrid Media Spaces
RTA 932Hacking, DIY, and Open Source Cultures
RTA 933Hacking, DIY, and Open Source Studio
RTA 934Virtual Identities and Communities
RTA 935Institutional and Personal Media Platforms
RTA 948Interactive Spaces
RTA 953Mobility and Mixed Reality
RTA 954Empathy Machines
RTA 958Networked Art
RTA 959Visualization and Generative Processes
RTA 9612D and Object Animation
RTA 962Interaction Design
RTA 963Web Design
RTA 965Advanced New Media Topics
RTA 967Interactivity and Net-working
RTA 968Emerging New Media Practices
RTA 975Video Compositing and Special Effects
RTA 982Advanced Digital Media Production

Media Business
Students will complete six (6) of the following:

Students will complete RTA 212 plus five (5) of the following:

Social Media
Students will complete six (6) of the following:

RTA 521#Activism: Media for Social Change 
RTA 902Social Media
RTA 917Public Relations
RTA 930Social Practices in Hybrid Media Spaces
RTA 932Hacking, DIY, and Open Source Cultures
RTA 933Hacking, DIY, and Open Source Studio
RTA 934Virtual Identities and Communities
RTA 935Institutional and Personal Media Platforms
RTA 967Interactivity and Net-working

Critical Media Theory
Students will complete RTA 101 plus five (5) of the following:

RTA 220New Media Art History
RTA 323Contemporary Strategies in New Media
RTA 903News and Current Affairs Theory
RTA 938Digital Popular Cultures
RTA 939Indigenous Media
RTA 940Canadian Televisual Studies
RTA 946Issues in New Media Theory & History

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