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Graduate Program in Communication & Culture

Faculty Profiles

Joyce Smith

Media & Culture/ Technology in Practice

University   Ryerson University
E-Mail Address
Phone Number   (416) 979-5000 ext. 6394
Office Location   RCC 149
Office Hours   TBA


B.A. (Toronto); M.A. (Western Ontario); PhD Religious Studies (Natal)


Professor Smith came to Ryerson in 2001 from the, where she was features editor and a member of the founding breaking news team. She had previously worked at the Toronto Star as well as freelancing and serving as senior site editor for a commercial web developer. Joyce is the original director of Ryerson's online journalism program and is serving as interim director of the journalism graduate program for 2008, after which she will be on sabbatical.

In 1994 she was a Rotary International Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar representing a Canadian/American district while at the University of Natal. Apart from giving her a deep and permanent appreciation for South Africans, media and democracy, her work investigating the coverage of religion surrounding the election of Nelson Mandela resulted in her PhD: "Reporting Religion in a New South Africa."

She turned her attention to Canadian media shortly after, including a study of national news as a Rockefeller Research Fellow at the University of Toronto's Centre for the Study of Religion in 1998-1999. The Pastoral Leadership Project conducted through Duke University's Divinity School commissioned her to study the media representation of America's Christian leaders, which yielded a monograph in 2002. With the help of colleague Abby Goodrum and journalism students she is continuing a SSHRC-funded study of Canadian perceptions of religious representation in news media.

Joyce has been a director of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and Online News Association. She was a research director for and a founding member of the Centre for Faith and the Media. She looks forward to hosting the 7th International Conference on Media, Religion and Culture at Ryerson in the summer of 2010.

Research Interests

Representation of religion in news media, online news, South African news media.

Selected Publications

"Chapter 11: Public," Key Words in Religion Media and Culture, ed. David Morgan, London & New York: Routledge, 2008

“Broadcasts from the Beyond: Canadian television’s representation of religion,” presented at the Sixth International Conference on Media, Religion and Culture, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Aug. 14, 2008.
“Dealing with new life from the morgue: A report on key copyright issues in the Canadian news media,” proceedings from the Third International Research Seminar in the series, Political Economy of the Southern African Media, published in Critical Arts: A journal of South-North Cultural and Media Studies, 2006, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp 112-121
"The Ministry and the Message: What Americans see and read about their leaders," monograph, Pulpit & Pew project, Durham, N.C.: Duke University 2003, ISBN: 0-9725644-5-4
"Kenneth Woodward: Journalist as Scholar," Religious Studies News, American Academy of Religion edition, Spring 2001, pp 16, 27



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Harold [Innis] taught us how to use the bias of culture and communication as an instrument of research. By directing attention to the bias, or distorting power of the dominant imagery and technology of any culture, he showed us how to understand cultures.
~ Marshall McLuhan