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Expanding the frontiers of media studies

Is online political discussion producing a more inclusive and participatory democracy? Second-year master's in communication student Julia Bresee is addressing the question in her research into Canada’s burgeoning political blogosphere.

Bresee notes that while individual “citizens” form the majority of Web bloggers, traditional media sites remain central in cyber geography, performing their customary role as gatekeepers of public information. Through a detailed analysis of hyperlink distribution across the blogosphere, she is identifying challenges to broader citizen engagement in this emerging form of public discourse.

Bresee has also applied her media-research skills to the study of intercultural communications in Canada, working closely with Professor Boulou Ebanda de B’béri, founding director of the Audiovisual Media Lab for the Study of Cultures and Societies. As an associate at the lab, she examined representations of multiculturalism and of racial and cultural identities in independent Canadian cinema.

“I’ve had access to a variety of excellent research opportunities in the media studies program,” notes Bresee, who is now considering a doctorate in political sociology. “That research has allowed me to really diversify my portfolio and create more options for the future.”