‘More than just sports’: First sport media class set to graduate

Photo by Cara Gilhula

Ryerson will always be home – but now, it’s time to go.

That was Joe Recupero’s message for the first graduating class of the sport media program at Ryerson University’s RTA School of Media.

Recupero, the program’s director, said that while the road wasn’t always straight, the bar was set.

“They’re proving that they are more than just sports,” said Recupero, who became the program director in 2016.  

“It’s not just sports teams and jocks here,” he said, noting that soon-to-be-grads have launched successful projects on social justice issues, sketch comedy shows and even had documentaries picked up by major networks like Sportsnet and TSN.

Recupero said although the ground was constantly shifting beneath his students’ feet, as the school changed the program’s direction and felt its way through the first four years, the group is exceptionally well-prepared, with most students having jobs lined up post-graduation.

“If nothing else the program was always very current and industry-connected,” said Recupero.

“It’s been quite the learning experience in both a good and bad way,” said fourth-year student Jennifer Chesson. “Because we were the first class, we had to figure everything out for ourselves, but we had amazing professors and amazing TAs to help ease us into that change.”

And while she admits that she and her classmates were the guinea pigs – or trailblazers, depending on who you ask, she joked – she would do it all over again.  

“This is the first time they’re going to see Ryerson sport media graduate on a resume and that’s an important distinction to have,” said Chesson.

The program wasn’t without its criticisms however, especially from its students.

Fourth-year student Kevin Yeung said that overall, it was a good experience, but because “sport media” is such a broad term, the program could have benefitted from more diverse course content.  

“What I wish personally, is instead of spending three years on TV concepts that were already taught to us, it would have been nice to go more in-depth to basic journalistic principles, which were only slightly covered,” he said.

“Part of me always wishes that I had enrolled in journalism, but at the same time, with this being the path that I’m on, I’ve seen the benefits and how they worked out for me,” Yeung said. “I can’t say for sure that if I picked a different path, it would have worked out for me.”

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