MAPC alum’s podcast examines “post-truth” effects of misinformation
Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye is driven to master his craft, most recently in creating a podcast to share his findings about misinformation; the subject of his Master of Arts in Professional Communication research project at Royal Roads University.
The flexible learning model at RRU provided Heyden-Kaye with an opportunity to learn new technology and skills for knowledge mobilization of his scholarly research. His interest in the effects of misinformation is influenced by his multi-media background acquired through his many life adventures.
Born to American parents in the Republic of Botswana in Southern Africa, Heyden-Kaye first developed an interest in photography flipping through the pages of National Geographic, and at age 10 started taking pictures of nature and wildlife in the game reserve behind his house.
At 14 his family moved to the US, and Heyden-Kaye enrolled in the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University to study photography. He left school before graduating when he relocated to Alberta as a newlywed to be closer to his wife Tanya’s relatives and to start a family.
Heyden-Kaye worked as a freelance photographer for community newspapers and eventually became editor for both the Ponoka News and Bashaw Star, near Red Deer, AB, then earned a Certificate in Public Relations Management from the University of Calgary. One of his professors in the program encouraged him to continue his journey by taking a master’s program at Royal Roads.
“I've recognized when I get into a position or a job role that I don't really want to be second best. I want to do well,” says Heyden-Kaye, who works as a marketing and sponsorship coordinator for the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose, Alta. “I was seeing some gaps in my ability to excel at my job.”
For Heyden-Kaye, getting to Royal Roads was about continuing his personal and professional development, while his journalism background aided his understanding of communications.
“But there are elements of journalism that are missing some of those business or strategic aspects that sometimes are needed.”
The MAPC program was a way to gain skills he could put to use right away.
“And because we live in a digital world, the podcast, for me, seemed like a great opportunity to continue that spirit of innovation,” says Heyden-Kaye. “I wanted to be able to use it to see what I could do to continue to promote who I am as a professional communicator.”
Heyden-Kaye’s podcast, Are propaganda and post-truth dissimilar?, explores how American WWI propaganda and the Trump presidency affected immigration in the US. George Creel, chairman of the Committee on Public Information during WWI, is known for using modern public relations techniques to rally support for the war effort both at home and abroad.
A century later, former American president Donald Trump introduced post-truth strategies. “In the post-truth context, what matters is, 'I know how you feel about issues, and I'm going to use any piece of information I can to magnify that’”, Heyden-Kaye explains.
With his master's degree, he could teach, or do more research, or continue his podcast.
“My goal is to take this and make it a series of podcasts, studying communication theories and politics and other avenues of professional communication, and being able to take the research skills that I learned from the course and apply them to future podcasts,” Heyden-Kaye says.
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