50 years of teaching, studying and making media

JMS@50 1

50 years! 

Of teaching journalism and media studies, making media, researching media, asking questions about the value of media in the world, thinking about audiences and mediums, riding the digital waves, mounting conferences, running short courses, intervening in policy-making, reworking curricula, rethinking what we do and who we are.

5000 graduates! (nearly) 

From that very first class of 17 in 1970 when a journalism course was started in the English Department, to a department and then a school with an array of degrees: BA majoring in Journalism and Media Studies; Bachelor of Journalism; Honours in Journalism and Media Studies; Masters in Journalism and Media Studies; Doctorate in Journalism and Media Studies; Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism and Media Studies; Postgraduate Diploma in Media Management; Postgraduate Diploma in Economics Journalism. Alumni with all these degrees working in news media, filmmaking, startups, research and academia, NGOs, for government and for corporates, as activists, in South Africa, on the continent of Africa, and across the world.

5 events across the year!

  • 8 April cocktail party and Grand Ball at the Rhodes University graduation ceremonies
  • 3 May World Press Freedom Day – we have hosted a webinar for journalists.
  • 23 June to 3 July – we have revived Cue Media for the National Arts Festival, the news outlet that so many alumni cut their teeth on.
  • The week of 19 October, Media Freedom Day – during this week, we host a colloquium for journalism educators and media researchers.
  • In September, October and November, we will host events in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, respectively, to honour fifty of our alumni.

50 distinguished JMS alumni!

Who epitomise all the best things about journalism and media in the world, who’ve made a difference to the journalism and media industries, who’ve had social and political impacts in their communities, who make us proud to be the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University in 2022.

Unearthing histories

Jms@50 (1440 × 288 px)

The JMS50 anniversary programme gives us the opportunity to take stock of our past in order to plan our future. For this reason, many of our anniversary activities are built around the unearthing of history. We want to find out more about the history of the school and how this has been embedded within the histories of media in the Eastern Cape, in South Africa and in the world. We are inviting staff and students who have been part of the JMS community over the past fifty years to help us capture the many diverse threads within that story. The anniversary programme includes events and activities that contribute toward this goal.

Listening to the stories

We want to hear from our own graduates so that they can share their experience of being part of media history over the past fifty years. For this purpose, a small team of postgraduate students are working with Jeanne du Toit to record interviews with JMS alumni. In addition, we invite our alumni to contribute to the sharing of stories on this site.

Sparking debates

Throughout the year, we are facilitating debates about the past, present, and future of journalism. This includes two journalism education colloquia in which we invite South African educators to talk about what it takes to design curricula that do justice both to history and the contemporary moment. On World Press Freedom Day (May 3) and in the week of South African Media Freedom day (October 19), we will host discussions in which journalists and educators reflect on the value that journalism continues to have, both as a tool for investigating the present and as a resource for learning about the past.

Creating a record

We are capturing the stories and insights that emerge from these processes in the form of academic research and through creative media projects. There are plans to develop a timeline that will be housed on this website and will also inform a mural project that will be hosted at the Africa Media Matrix building.