Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts

Saint Michael's Journalism

Media and journalism education at Saint Michael's has a strong reputation among working journalists, academics and employers familiar with our award-winning student publications, job-ready and technically savvy graduates, and innovative leadership on the latest story-telling technologies. Our curriculum is geared to address the demands and potential of current technologies for today's professional communicators.

For example, the Wilderness Photography class partnered with the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing to create multimedia presentations for its web site. During the first week of class students met with the department’s director of communications to assess its marketing needs. For the rest of the summer sessions, students conducted research and field work and produced videos.


As a Media Studies student, you will learn to write quickly, accurately and under deadline pressure. You will learn to conduct research using traditional and electronic sources. You will acquire a deep understanding of the ethical and legal responsibilities associated with being a communicator - whether in the newsroom or the marketplace. And you will develop a mastery of current technologies, including multimedia, digital photography, digital video and digital audio and social media.

Since today's journalist must be a generalist's generalist - a Renaissance person in an age of specialization - we insist that each student obtain firm grounding in the liberal arts. You’ll find that beyond teaching you specific essential skills, we also continually promote your broad and perceptive understanding of society.

As a St. Mike's "MJD" major you'll gain basic journalistic skills such as news-writing, editing and information gathering, grounding in the ethical responsibilities of a professional communicator, awareness of connections among various technologies and the messages delivered through them, and international understanding (ideally including study abroad).

There are two versions of the Media Studies & Digital Arts major: one with a journalism concentration, and one without.  Both versions combine the arts and sciences with hands-on communication skills, critical to our students as they learn to become effective communicators in our Information Age.

Whichever version you choose, our curriculum has three core strands that will be present through the classes you take:

1. Media Studies

We focus on the research and analysis of all media types and styles-news, advertising, photography, film, magazines, radio, television, web, and wireless/mobile media. Most broadly, we explore important questions related to the impact and influences that media are having on all of us.

2. Digital Media Arts: Digital Photography, Digital Film, Animation, Interactive Web Design

We produce films, digital photographs, digital audio productions, television productions, TV ads, interactive web designs, animation, wireless/mobile design. We have state-of-the-art computing labs, high-definition video cameras, digital still cameras, broadcast video cameras, digital audio recorders, and a host of web and interactive authoring tools.

3. Journalism: Writing, Reporting, Informed Citizenry 

Our emphasis is on producing interesting and important investigative stories. How can we help make a more informed citizenry? How can we better understand our local, regional, national, and international connections? Visit our online news magazine.

A Global Media & Cross-Cultural Focus

We have a strong international media studies component to the curriculum which includes Global Media, Development, and Culture, Foreign Correspondence, Global Media, Expression, and Identity and a wide range of internationally-oriented courses through Saint Michael's Global Studies Program. We also require all students to study abroad/away at some point during their four years. 

All students develop a comprehensive digital portfolio of the works they produce, which often includes research, thesis, news articles, films, webs, photo essays, and animations. We strongly recommended that students also complete a minor and/or an 18-credit concentration. The minors our students complete span a wide range of fields and disciplines-Global Studies, English, Political Science, Music, Art, Philosophy, Theater, Biology, History, Sociology, Environmental Sciences.

The Department of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts was established in 1974 through grants from the Frank E. Gannett Foundation and other sources, the proceeds of which continue to support the program.

Sample Four Year Plan for Media Studies Majors*

First Year
Fall Spring
MJD 101 Media Revolutions MJD 110 Digital Media
  Foreign Language I    Foreign Language II 
  First Year Seminar    Liberal Studies course 
  Liberal Studies course    Liberal Studies course 
Fall Spring
MJD 205 Reporting for Media MJD 213 Media Law and Ethics
MJD Elective   MJD Elective
  Liberal Studies courses    Liberal Studies courses 
Fall Spring
Study Abroad MJD 250 Global Communication
MJD Elective
      Junior Seminar 
Fall Spring
MJD 450 Senior Seminar Research Proposal  MJD 460 Senior Seminar
MJD Elective Electives

Students wishing to pursue the major with a concentration in journalism should take Multimedia Reporting (MJD 207) and Publication Editing and Design (MJD 411) as two of their electives.

It is also strongly recommended that students take Internship in Media Studies (MJD 413).

* For students who enroll in the fall of 2018.

Allison Cleary, MA

Instructor, Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts
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M.A. Syracuse University, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
B.A. Kenyon College

With a background in magazine journalism, nonprofit writing and international service, I believe that effective communication and storytelling help to connect us as human beings and as stewards of the globe. In both the classroom and the international landscape effective communication breaks barriers, educates and links us as integral members of a community.

Much of my own writing and editing has revolved around health, social justice and identifying the exceptional within the ordinary. Prior to coming to Saint Michael's College in 2006, I was senior editor for Eating Well, a national magazine. I have edited and written for Reader's Digest Health Publications, Da Capo Press and a variety of consumer, non-profit and corporate publications that include books, magazines, newsletters and websites. 

For six years I coordinated the international service program of MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) at St. Michael’s College, leading groups of students to Kolkata, India, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala where we worked with families and individuals of marginalized communities beside organizations that focus on sustainable change and grass roots empowerment. 

Courses I Teach:

  • Reporting for Media
  • Multimedia Reporting
  • Storytelling & Design for Publication
  • The Magazine & Feature Writing
  • Persuasive Writing
  • Internship in Media Studies
  • Strategic Writing 

In my writing, reporting and publishing courses, students explore the art of interviewing, experiment with the vast nuances and power of language, and learn to identify and practice elements of strong storytelling and communication through a variety of mediums. They study how to best reach specific audiences and how to adapt their skills to the task at hand.  

I often weave community-engaged projects into the classroom so that students gain an understanding of complex social issues and real world challenges while community organizations benefit from student learning. The projects involve research, an understanding of audience and mission and compelling delivery of the materials produced. 

In the internship course students explore professional work settings as they partner with an organization or company in roles that exercise their knowledge and skills, from videography to data analytics to social media outreach. The class supports them through challenges and helps students weave their experiences into future job interviews, networking, and skills needed to create professional success in life after college. 

The Defender

I serve as the faculty advisor for The Defender, Saint Michael's award-winning student newspaper. Recent accoldades for The Defender include:
  • A student from Reporting for Media course in spring 2018 published their final project, a feature article titled “Running Scared? School Shooting Drills in Vermont Spark Debate on Safety Approaches,” in the Burlington Free Press in July 2018.  

  • Executive editor of the campus publication The Defender, Kelsey Bode, won the Reporter of the Year award from the New England Press Association in 2017. 

  • Senior editor for the campus publication The Defender, Madeline Clark, was a finalist for Reporter of the Year Pacemaker Award from the Associate Collegiate Press, 2018. 


Traci Griffith, JD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts

Contact Professor Griffith

Jeanmarie Hall 169A
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J.D. Notre Dame Law School
M.A. Florida A&M University
B.A. Political Science DePaul University

I began my teaching career as a visiting professor in September 2001. I fell in love with the college and the quality of life in Vermont and joined the tenure track faculty one year later. I came to St. Michael’s College from Chicago where I was a correspondent with The Associated Press. I also worked as a national editor for The Associated Press broadcast division in Washington D.C.

Utilizing my law degree and years as a professional journalist, my teaching focuses on Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age. The course focuses on the legal and ethical boundaries and parameters of modern media.  I also created a special topics course on Race, Gender & Ethnicity in Media. The course studies the way media creates meaning about race, gender and ethnicity, and plays an important role in shaping the way we understand them as part of our identity, our history, our social institutions, and our everyday lives.

I currently serve as a board member for The Vermont ACLU, and The Vermont Press Association. I work with numerous local organizations and serve the community through her work focusing on the issues of homelessness, poverty and AIDS.

Areas of Expertise

Media law, Ethics in the media, Intellectual Freedom and Censorship, Racial and ethnic representation in media

Courses I Teach: 

  • Media Law & Ethics
  • Race, Gender & Ethnicity in Media
  • Media Studies Internship
  • Reporting for Media
  • In the Steps of Ghengis Khan: Comparative Media Study tour in Mongolia
  • The Great Firewall: Comparative Media Study tour in China

Jon Hyde, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts; Director, Global Studies Program

Contact Professor Hyde

Jeanmarie Hall 164
Box 284
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M.A., Ph.D. New York University
B.A. Carleton College

Fulbright Senior Research/Teaching Fellow: University of Malaysia, Borneo
Co-Director of the Center for Media, Health, and Wellness
Co-Founder/Director Global Studies Program 
Technology & Instructional Design Coordination – SMC and NYU
Bhutan Media Education Initiative SMC and the Centre for Media and Democracy

Areas of Expertise

  • Photography, Film and Television:  Creative Production, Storytelling and Critical Analysis
  • Screen Lives: Smartphones, Netflix, YouTube and the Global Impact of Screen-based and Streaming Media. 
  • The New (R)Evolutions in Documentary Filmmaking: International Economics, Analytics, Collaborations
  • Global Media and International Communication Systems: Culture, Identity, Economics and Development
  • Media and Health: The Social and Psychological Impact of Modern Media (Children-Teens-Adults-Elderly)  
  • Environmental and Adventure Photography and Filmmaking: Nature, Science, Conservation
  • New Technologies: Art, Design, Interface, Impact

Courses I Teach:

  • Introduction to Digital Film:  Analysis, Storytelling, and Production
  • Advanced Documentary Filmmaking: From Script to Screen
  • Global Communications and Culture: International Media Systems and Globalization
  • Senior Seminar Research and Project Development
  • Senior Capstone Seminar:  Documentary Film, TV, and Web Production
  • Adventure and Environmental Filmmaking: Nature, Science, Conservation and Health
  • World Film, Video, and Television: International Industries, Economics, and Representations
  • ScreenLife: Modern Visual, Streaming, and Mobile Media
  • International Media Field Research Projects: Bhutan, Brazil, Greece, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Israel, Egypt, Ireland

Additionally, I’ve also served as a graduate thesis advisor for research in the areas of film and television, global media, media education, media literacy, emergent media, and the social and political impact of communication systems.  

Professional Experiences:

Prior to teaching at Saint Michael's, I worked in New York City as a journalist, digital animator, and a media developer at the Media Workshop New York, a non-profit organization devoted to issues of media education and media literacy.

Kimberly Sultze, PhD

Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts

Contact Professor Sultze

Saint Edmund's Hall 135
Box 284
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Ph.D.  New York University 
M.A.  New York University
B.A.  Carleton College, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa

Dr. Kimberly Sultze is a wildlife photographer, media educator, and specialist in interdisciplinary curriculum design.  In 2014, she received a Fulbright Scholar Award for photographic work in Borneo, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam.
Her courses involve the innovative use of digital media technologies, creative cross-disciplinary approaches, and place-based education utilizing natural areas as classrooms.  At St. Michael’s, she teaches courses in visual media, environmental studies, creative writing, and the social and cultural impacts of new media technologies.
Dr. Sultze’s environmental photography, which she does in collaboration with her husband Dr. Jon Hyde, has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including at the BioPhoto Festival in Italy, the Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece, the UNIMAS Gallery of Fine Art in Borneo, Malaysia, the San Diego Museum of Natural History, the New York Center for Photographic Arts, and the 1650 Gallery, Los Angeles.  Her work has been published by scientific and conservation organizations including the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, and the Audubon Society.  She has photographed in Central America, South America, Asia, South East Asia, Canada, and the 50 United States.   
Since her arrival at St. Michael’s 20 years ago, Dr. Sultze has secured grants for interdisciplinary curriculum development from the U.S. Department of Education and the Knight Foundation and served as Head of the Visual Communication Division of the AEJMC.  She has taken her passion for curriculum design and pedagogy into service as an external curriculum reviewer and also as a consultant on the design of digital media teaching laboratory spaces.  At St. Michael’s, she has chaired the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts department, chaired the College’s Faculty Development Committee and served on its Curriculum and Educational Policy Committee.  
Because of her deep commitment to international education and the visual arts, she collaborated with the Office of Study Abroad to create the Global Eyes Study Abroad Photography annual competition and calendar (now in its 20th year).  She is currently putting her skills to work pursuing the creation of the Center for Media, Health and Wellness at SMC.  

Courses I Teach:

  • Digital Media and New Technologies: Art, Culture, Theory
  • Digital Media 2: Advanced Graphic Design
  • Digital Photography 
  • Nature & Outdoor Writing: Wildlife, Science, and the Environment
  • Study Abroad Re-entry: Travel Writing & the International Experience
  • First Year Seminar: Living Digital
  • Senior Interdisciplinary Research Proposal Seminar, Media Studies and Digital Arts 
  • Media Studies and Digital Arts Senior Seminar


Jerald Swope, MA

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts

Contact Professor Swope

Jeanmarie Hall 169B
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M.A. Missouri School of Journalism, University of Missouri
B.A. Brown University

Areas of Expertise:

Photojournalism; media literacy; digital design; photo elicitation; interdisciplinary service learning experiences

Courses I Teach:

  • Advanced Visual Storytelling
  • Digital Media; Media Revolutions
  • Photojournalism in the Digital Age

Some of our graduates are employed in newsrooms all over New England and beyond. Many other graduates are working in web design, film production, photojournalism, advertising, public relations, marketing, and politics (one of our graduates is the press secretary for the Senate Judiciary Committee). Some are doing jobs that weren’t even invented a decade ago, like Director of Social Media. Others have gone on to a range of graduate programs: law school, media studies, American studies, and other fields.

Recent MJD graduates have job titles like:

  • Journalist
  • Associate Editor
  • Entertainment Editor 
  • Editorial Developer 
  • Communications Specialist
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Technical Writer

To find out more about what our graduates are doing, look at our Media Studies Alumni Profiles.

MJD students have opportunities to apply their knowledge and skillsets in a wide variety of internships, preparing them for life after college.  They work with professionals in the fields of graphic design, digital marketing, reporting/journalism, videography, photography, public relations, event planning, fundraising and social media among many other fields. 

Our coursework prepares students to think critically and creatively, solve problems, and gain confidence in a range of technologies. They are adept in writing and interviewing, applying their knowledge and they are familiar with state of the art software such as the Adobe Suite, Photoshop, InDesign, Audition and Illustrator. 

Internships where our students have received professional feedback and guidance include the following:

  • AllEarth Rail Vermont
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos
  • American Cancer Society 
  • Arts Riot
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Boston University, Communications
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware
  • Burlington City Arts
  • Burlington Free Press
  • Burton Snowboards
  • Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Chill Foundation
  • Church St. Marketplace
  • Climberism and Alpine Climbing Magazines
  • Community Garden Network, Vermont
  • Colchester Sun/Essex Reporter/Milton Independent
  • Cumbancha World Music
  • Dynapower
  • EatingWell Media group
  • Echo Lake Aquarium & Science Center
  • ESPN Radio
  • GameFace Media, Boston
  • Green Mountain Electric Supply
  • Green Mountain Farm to School
  • Headfirst Companies
  • Immigration Law, AALV
  • IXIS Digital
  • Kingsway Community
  • Krystal Clear Media Group, NYC
  • Lake Champlain Access Television
  • MamaVa
  • Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Communications
  • National Life Insurance
  • Outdoor Gear Exchange
  • People Making Good 
  • Population Media Center
  • Prenatal Method Studio
  • Press Communications, New Jersey
  • Resolute Digital, NYC
  • Riverwoods Retirement Community
  • Rutland Medical Center
  • Shark Communications
  • Stowe Area Association
  • The Sun Chronicle
  • Traverse City Film Festival
  • Tuihzi Public Relations, Beijing
  • United Nations, Switzerland
  • Urban Rhino, Video & Animation production
  • Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports
  • Vermont Craft Brewers Association
  • Vermont Department of Tourism
  • Vermont Life Magazine
  • Vermont Military Museum and Library
  • Vermont Public Television
  • Vermont Public Radio
  • Vermont Runs
  • Vermont Works for Women
  • Visura Photography
  • VSA, Arts & Education
  • Waterfire, Providence, nonprofit arts
  • Westchester Magazine
  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette
  • Yankee Cable Company
  • Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox 
  • Zoo New England


All Media Studies majors study abroad/away at some point during their four years. You can choose to study abroad for a full semester or take a shorter faculty-led study trip which provides international media experience while earning 2 academic credits.

Currently students are registering for an opportunity to study abroad in South Africa. Students are also currently studying in Denmark, Scotland, Morocco, Fiji, Ireland, Nepal and Barcelona, Spain. 

South Africa: Apartheid, Revolution, and Representation

In this course, philosophical understandings of difference, power, resistance, and liberation/freedom will be explored through examination of the important social, political, and ethical lessons of apartheid. The course focuses strongly on issues of representation and mediation, with specific reference to the use of media in shaping, maintaining, and eventually overthrowing the apartheid system in South Africa. Students will be encouraged to explore comparisons and contrasts between South Africa and the United States, in terms of racial oppression, resistance movements, and the power of media in shaping understanding and society. 

Students will consider philosophical theories underpinning media practice and analysis, foregrounding the social role of the media and their relationship to South African culture and society. On this study tour students will analyze key areas: cultural and critical theory; media texts, institutions, and audiences; representation, discourse, and ideology; propaganda and revolutionary forms of critique; postmodernism and new media. The goals of the class are to provide students with: an understanding of apartheid and how such a system could be “sold” to people; a vision of the power of resistance and media-based methods of revolution; a basic conceptual framework for understanding, analyzing, and discussing the place of media in society; and the concentration of media texts and their impact on societal formation. 

MJD study trips in the past have included:

China: Chinese Media and Culture

Our Beijing, China trip is the culmination of a semester-long course in MJD program on 21st century Chinese media and culture. The trip involves a comparative cross-cultural perspective on the ways in which 21st century Chinese media users use new digital media platforms for work and play, news and information sharing, and how different Chinese individuals and organizations - the dissident artist Ai Wei Wei, the Long Bow documentary film group, or the Chinese Communist Party - utilize the Internet for information sharing and surveillance.

India: Media Nomads: Youth, Television, Trekking in the Buddhist Himalaya

Ladakh is a high-altitude desert on the Tibetan Plateau in the trans-Himalayan area of northern India between Pakistan and Tibet. It has often been described as “Little Tibet” and is predominantly Tibetan Buddhist.  Until mid-1960s when a road was built to link the region with the rest of the country, Ladakh remained almost totally isolated from the forces of modernization.  In 1975 the region was opened up to foreign tourists and the process of development began in earnest. This course involves anthropological field work on the current processes of globalization and the pressure to modernize among Buddhist youth in Ladakh, primarily focusing on the influence of television. What perceptions of “the West” do Ladakhi youth have? How do these influence their conception of self, daily behaviors and visions of their future? What kinds of pressures to modernize does television now have on Ladakhi youth and how can a more critical awareness of many of television’s myths be taught?

Mongolia & China: In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan

This course explores the historical and cultural connections between Mongolia and China, with a focus on the Mongol Empire of ancient times, the 21st century People’s Republic of China, and the physical and digital walls that divide these two vital regions of Asia today. Students read widely on the China/Mongolia relationship, explore the varied history of this region through multimedia research projects, and travel to Mongolia and China during the last two weeks of May to experience the rich culture and history of this region firsthand. The program schedule includes a 7 day trip into Mongolia and 4 days in Beijing (with visits to the Great Wall of China, including a hike on the Wild Wall).

Tanzania: Applied Health & Development Approaches in East Africa

This service learning course includes an intensive two week field course based at the Ilula Orphan Program (IOP) in Iringa, Tanzania. Students travel to Tanzania to observe first-hand the development challenges related to HIV/AIDS, water scarcity, education, and poverty being addressed by the IOP. The service learning component of the course involves updating the IOP's educational and development materials, including the website, and producing at least one completed grant application. Students are expected to complete this work in a one-week work session following completion of the two weeks in-country.

Professor Kimberly Sultze offers a study-abroad re-entry class. Along with Jon Hyde, she has worked with the college's Study Abroad Office to produce the Global Eyes Competition and Calendar. Student photography from around the world is featured in the calendar, and its production is a practical learning experience.

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