Department of Media and Communications turns 10

19 October 2010

In the hallowed hall of one of Sydney's oldest buildings, staff, students and alumni came together to celebrate the University's newest milestone.

Around 110 people converged in the Great Hall on Tuesday 12 October to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Department of Media and Communications.

Among distinguished guests present at the event was University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence. He noted the importance for democracy in having skilled professionals to communicate complex ideas, and the media degree's success in training intelligent minds to adequately critique the challenges facing society.

Dean of Arts, Professor Duncan Ivison, spoke about the distinctiveness of the media degree, with its emphasis on intellectual autonomy in the liberal arts as well as more practical aspects.

Professor Ivison said graduates are well prepared to ask society's difficult questions and piece together a broader news context thanks to the Arts humanities facet of the program.

The Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney was established in 2000 by respected media academic and commentator, Dr Catharine Lumby. Past acting Dean of Arts, Professor Anne Dunn, was also instrumental in the formation of the degree in its early stages.

Since the genesis of the Media Department ten years ago, Dr Lumby believes the media course has grown to become "at the cutting edge" of the humanities and journalism in Australia. She said the course structure gives students unparalleled access to learning the key humanities skills crucial for today's media worker.

"They're learning about research, critical enquiry and communication. They're also learning vocational skills from people who are practiced and professional, as well as research-based academics," she said.

"I know, even though I work at a different University now, that the University of Sydney has the best Media and Communications program at undergraduate level in Australia."

As one of the nation's most elite journalism courses, the Media and Communications program provides a uniquely multifaceted approach to working in the media.

Students experience both practical and theoretical training in myriad media fields, including broadcast, print, online and strategic public relations, to obtain a rounded and multi-skilled education as professional communicators.

Sydney media graduates have gone on to work in careers as broad as print, online media, publishing, television, radio, advertising and public relations in organisations across Australia and the world.

The very first student to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) degree was Julia Carland in 2003.

Carland, who now works as a lawyer, said the Media program was an "excellent" way to gain the "transferable skills" of communicating well, dealing with people and working to a deadline.

"Whatever you're doing I think they're really useful," she said.

"It's a point of interest for people. You have an insight into an industry that a lot of people have an interest in, and if you can bring that to what you do later on, that's always an asset."

The Department of Media and Communications plans to announce its First Decade Fellow in the coming weeks as part of ongoing celebrations.

To see a sample of the work Sydney Media graduates are creating in the media today, visit the online media showcase, Salience.

Media enquiries: Jacqueline Chowns, 0434 605 018,