A new public database of Canadian journalism research will make it easier to discover which topics are being explored in journalism schools across the country.

By Angela MacKenzie

A new public database of Canadian journalism research will make it easier to discover which topics are being explored in journalism schools across the country.

“As researchers we don’t always know who’s working in related fields to us,” said Ivor Shapiro, chair of Ryerson University’s School of Journalism, who headed the project. “I studied the professional identity of journalists. How do I know there isn’t somebody at X university, somewhere in the prairies, who’s not studying the same thing? Wouldn’t it be nice to work together?”

Beyond the potential for collaboration on related fields, Shapiro said the database will make it easier for people working in particular areas, such as industry or non-profits, to seek help from a researcher. 

The database isn’t complete yet. The project started with a few universities, using information that was easily available online. These journalism schools were informed of the database so that researchers could verify and correct their entries. So far, there are 249 entries listed. Researchers are encouraged to add their work to the database or use it as a resource.

“The cool thing is just how broad it is,” Shapiro said. “Quite a few people are studying journalism pedagogy, social media, gender issues, ethics, special areas such as science journalism and freedom of the press. It just goes on and on and it’s a fabulously wide-ranging list, which is exactly what I was expecting it to be.”

Angela MacKenzie is a Montreal-based freelance writer as well as a graduate student and research assistant at Concordia University in the department of journalism. 


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