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  • Master of Arts

    Media for Social Justice

    Inspiring, Creating, Empowering

  • Master of Arts

    Media for Social Justice

    Inspiring, Creating, Empowering

  • Master of Arts

    Media for Social Justice

    Inspiring, Creating, Empowering

  • Master of Arts

    Media for Social Justice

    Inspiring, Creating, Empowering

EXPLORE MSJ PROGRAM

Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice

Master of Arts in Media for Social Justice

The M.A. in Media for Social Justice is a groundbreaking advanced degree program in which you will learn how to create and leverage media for social change. Throughout the two-year program, you will explore your commitment to social justice, develop skills in transmedia production and creative entrepreneurship, and work closely with award-winning producers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell of the Media Policy Center in Santa Monica, CA. The curriculum combines stimulating coursework with an innovative, hands-on apprenticeship program that runs the entire course of the graduate degree. You will emerge from the program as a media entrepreneur, with the knowledge, tools, and networking skills necessary to produce and distribute media promoting greater social justice.

Apprenticeship: Media Policy Center

Founded in 2003 by producers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell, the Media Policy Center (MPC) strives to inform, challenge, and ultimately engage a responsive citizenry and to encourage full and meaningful debate and participation across the political, social, and economic spectrum.

Ready to Make the World a Better Place?

Students emerge from Woodbury’s M.A. in Media for Social Justice program as media entrepreneurs, with the knowledge, tools, and networking skills necessary to produce and distribute media promoting greater social justice. The apprenticeship model combines theory with practice by offering hands-on experience working with world-class media producers Harry Wiland and Dale Bell of the Media Policy Center. It provides an opportunity for students to gain valuable workplace experience in transmedia production and social justice entrepreneurship — prior to graduation.

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Associate Professor, Chair:

Nicole Keating
Phone: 818.252.5215
Email: nicole.keating@woodbury.edu

CONTACT US

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MSJ FACULTY

Woodbury University takes pride in its accomplished faculty and intimate, family-like atmosphere. In addition to teaching, our faculty continue to work as professionals in their fields, passing along the latest technology, trends, and strategies in the current market to WU students. We foster close mentoring relationships between faculty and student. Through this individual attention, we are able to know you as a person, and how we can best help you find your path to success.

Program Schedule and Curriculum

The M.A. in Media for Social Justice is a hands-on, apprenticeship-based graduate program grounded in the humanities and social sciences. The two-year (60-unit) curriculum incorporates three strands: social justice studies, transmedia production, and creative entrepreneurship. Thesis projects, tailored to the student’s individual creative interests, will be presented at the end of the second year.

YEAR ONE, FALL: MEDIA AND SOCIAL CHANGE
This course examines the relationship between media and social justice by exploring the theoretical/historical foundations of this connection. Since media representation structures cultural meanings, it inevitably creates social change. In this course we explore why and how this change occurs, and then learn how to harness the power of media to create positive transformation as we assess and evaluate outcomes. Students complete a research paper within a specific area of interest. Regular reading of newspapers (including obituaries) will cultivate interest in various topics. Social justice themes include such topics as race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, aging, environmental issues, health, education, poverty, intercultural awareness and human welfare.
TRANSMEDIA PRODUCTION
As the boundaries break down between discrete forms of media, there has been a movement towards “transmedia” in which multiple media forms become component parts of a synergistic whole, combining to form a fulcrum in society for social change. Throughout the semester we introduce students to the Media Policy Center’s “media model” based on this notion of transmedia. Various forms, including (but not limited to) film/video production, game art and design, print media, web design, and social media come together to form social justice campaigns. In this course, students operate as a class company (developed in Creative Entrepreneurship I) and assume corporate role-playing as they examine the media model, discuss case studies, form teams, and complete production exercises strengthening their transmedia production skills. Students receive additional training in web-based technologies and video production equipment.
CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
This course teaches students (used interchangeably with the term “company leaders”) how to become social justice entrepreneurs in the creative economy, a vital force in the 21st century global economy. First we cover the fundamentals of the creative economy. Students form a class “company” and then divide themselves into teams (they will have the chance to rotate through three different groupings). After learning about various models of creative entrepreneurship through case studies, each one of these teams collaborates to identify a “transmedia” social justice concept, develop an “intent to plan,” and establish social justice goals. Students gain team-building and leadership ability, and learn about related business and communication skills (accounting, finance, management, public speaking, business plan development, etc.).
INTERNSHIP
Interns spend ten hours per week at the Media Policy Center learning about the business practices and daily routines of a thriving media production company. Under the supervision of Harry Wiland and Dale Bell, interns become acclimated to the company culture, contribute to ongoing projects, and gradually take on more responsibility as media producers.
YEAR ONE, SPRING: HISTORY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE MEDIA
This course is an overview of social justice media history. We will focus primarily on social issue documentaries, but we will also discuss muckraking, radio, television, games with impact, social media, web resources, and graphic design. Although forms have always played off of one another, we examine these media with an eye towards understanding the emergence of transmedia production and distribution practices. Through in-class screenings of social media texts, we will examine and discuss how the traditional concerns of social justice media have been redefined over time.
TRANSMEDIA PRODUCTION II
This course is a continuation of “Transmedia Production I.” In this semester, students complete a “media sample” in conjunction with the transmedia proposal they are working on in Creative Entrepreneurship II. Students work on individual projects, but they collaborate as they become crew members and/or company leaders on their classmates' projects. At the end of the year, a limited number of the proposals are selected for production, and students enter the pre-production phase in the summer session following this course.
CREATIVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP II
This course is a continuation of Creative Entrepreneurship I. Out of the many “intent to plan” projects from the prior semester (and possibly other ideas) each student will be responsible for completing a project proposal. In this semester students also learn about financing strategies and strategic marketing. We discuss different types of fundraising, the mental attitude necessary to successfully raise enough money for transmedia productions, and the intersection of fundraising and strategic marketing with social justice entrepreneurship. Fundraising is necessary to get projects up and running, but to remain financially viable strategic marketing is also required. Interesting issues emerge since our goal is social justice that also might yield profit. By the end of this semester each student should have a workable project proposal in hand.
APPRENTICESHIP I: PROPOSALS
The apprenticeship starts in earnest during the proposal-writing stage. “Company leaders” continue to spend ten hours per week at the Media Policy Center, but part of that time will be spent developing their own proposals as they utilize the resources offered by the Media Policy Center.
YEAR ONE, SUMMER: APPRENTICESHIP II: PRE-PRODUCTION
During the summer session, company leaders begin their transmedia thesis production projects while working at the Media Policy Center. This is the research and development stage: the work will be determined by the type of transmedia project undertaken. For documentary projects, for example, they conduct pre-interviews, plan shoots, continue fundraising, work out production schedules and complete crew assignments. Apprentices continue working in the MPC offices for ten hours per week under the supervision of Harry Wiland and Dale Bell.
YEAR TWO, FALL: AESTHETICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE MEDIA
The production of social justice media inevitably incorporates an investigation into how formal and aesthetic principles affect meaning. In this course, we will analyze a number of aesthetic approaches that have been adopted by social media entrepreneurs. We will consider how form and aesthetics can be used to either enhance or hinder underlying messages and thereby develop an awareness of the ways in which form relates to content in social justice media. This course builds on the theoretical awareness developed in Media and Social Change.
APPRENTICESHIP III: PRODUCTION
During this semester, the apprenticeship continues at 10 hours per week. As apprentices enter the production phase, they are closely supervised by MPC staff. They continue to participate in ongoing MPC projects, and also spend time in the MPC offices for production work and company meetings.
THESIS I
In this 2-semester course, students will develop, complete, and present their transmedia thesis projects. Across both semesters, student practical work will be supplemented by discussion sections, in which students and advisors will examine the theoretical and practical issues stemming from the projects. In the first semester, students will focus on developing their final projects. In the second semester, students will confer with advisors to finalize their work and develop options for exhibition and/or distribution. By the end of this sequence, students will have a portfolio/reel of creative work.
YEAR TWO, SPRING: POLITICS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE MEDIA
This course focuses on the interrelationships between politics and media. Social justice entrepreneurs need to understand the political system and how it operates. In this course, students explore political theory and advance their understanding of politics and the global economy, particularly with respect to the influence of new media technologies. This course builds on the theoretical foundations established in Media and Social Change and Aesthetics of Social Justice Media.
APPRENTICESHIP IV: POST-PRODUCTION
Apprentices continue to work on ongoing MPC projects for ten hours per week in the MPC offices for post-production work and company meetings. Apprentices might be editing, revising, game testing, etc. They also develop a plan for exhibiting their work. At the end of this session, all projects are presented to a panel of faculty and professional media producers.
THESIS II
In this 2-semester course, students will develop, complete, and present their transmedia thesis projects. Across both semesters, student practical work will be supplemented by discussion sections, in which students and advisors will examine the theoretical and practical issues stemming from the projects. In the first semester, students will focus on developing their final projects. In the second semester, students will confer with advisors to finalize their work and develop options for exhibition and/or distribution. By the end of this sequence, students will have a portfolio/reel of creative work.

WORDS ON WOODBURY

  • Working at Media Policy Center was a mind-opening adventure-- from learning marketing and production skills to speaking with healthcare and environmental leaders to creating a unique experience at a powerful non-profit.

    Christina Yip

    MPC interns
  • Working at a non-profit like MPC gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of important social issues, learn new skills related to media production like web development and publishing, and gain valuable professional experience in editing and filmmaking.

    Aaron Kemp

    MPC interns
  • As an intern, Media Policy Center provided an introduction to both the non-profit and film industry. During my time with MPC, I learned about the different facets and roles of production and developed a skill set still pertinent today.

    Teresa Chang

    MPC interns