Faculty - David Balzer

Article published in MB Herald – challenge and opportunity of technology

I was invited to reflect on the opportunity and challenge of emerging technologies in local and national contexts in a recent article for the MB Herald.  I’m happy to share it here. I trust it offers up some food for thought as you decide on your own technology use.

Faculty - David Balzer

The Future of News is happening now – March 21

I can’t wait for the Going Barefoot 4 conference to start!  Some of Winnipeg’s best public media communicators are coming together at CMU to tackle the question of how to make great news!  I get to work with a fabulous team of planners.  MORE INFO/REGISTRATION:


2014 Going Barefoot 4 Poster

Going Barefoot 4 is a one-day communications conference for faith-based and non-profit communicators.

Conference Organizers
John Longhurst, Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Amanda Thorsteinsson, Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Dan Dyck, Mennonite Church Canada
Darryl Neustaedter-Barg, Mennonite Church Manitoba
David Balzer, Canadian Mennonite University
Mike Duerksen, Global Family Foundation


Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Recent book reviews published – Taking pop culture seriously

The MB Herald asked me to review two books recently.  Both authors are compelled to help us think Christianly about culture – particularly culture that is made possible by electricity.  Turner investigates the broader expressions of leisure activity such as film, fashion, comedy, and photography, while Schuurman focuses specifically on computer technology. They both reject a kind of Luddite cultural separatism, and then elaborate what it means to consume, create, and critique culture as a biblically-rooted experience.

Read the full article here

Books-Shaping-Digital                       Books-popcultured




RSB News & Program Highlights Uncategorized

Rony Doerksen reflects on Latin America study tour

Rony Doerksen came to CMU to complete his BA degree from Paraguay. His previous work experience includes time at the Paraguayan development organization ASCIM, and he is studying for a BA in International Development Studies at CMU.

After final exams in April, Rony travelled to Latin America to take part in a travel study course  offered as a cross listed option between the Redekop School of Business at CMU and the International Development program.

The major focus of the study tour was learning how microfinance provides loans and credit for the economically poor.

The 6 students on the trip learned firsthand how real life experience differs from the classroom but also how it enhances the learning.

Here are some of Rony’s reflections from the trip:

In conversation with staff of MiCredito (one of the organizations in Latin America the group visited) I learned that the political situation of a country can have a big influence on how successful microfinance is. The people of MiCredito were saying that the group lending model did not function very well and was not well accepted in Nicaragua because of bad political experience in the past.


Rony Doerksen

It was interesting to see the cultural differences between  Western Culture and the Latin American people. As a Canadian from Paraguay it was interesting to recognize some general differences in cultural, social and spiritual aspects but also specifically the differences between the two Latin countries we visited.


The study tour has been very enriching to me. It was a good time to reflect about the consumption lifestyle we have and also about the importance of holistic/integral development.

The study tour has confirmed me once more that the rest of my life will consist in working in development work with people who are in need. I have seen the big potential for integral development projects in Latin America, but I have also seen that a good development project should have a holistic view for helping the poor.



Faculty - Gordon Matties

Announcing the 2014 Tour! April 28 to May 19.

The itinerary for the 2014 tour is almost ready to be posted. We’ll be visiting more sites in the West Bank/Palestine, including biblical Shechem (modern Nablus), Sebaste (capital city of ancient kings Omri and Ahab), Jacob’s well, among others. Click on the link on the right side of the page to go to the tour website or to view last year’s itinerary. Faith Today magazine did an interview with me about the tour. It turns out to be a fine advocacy piece for why people should consider taking an “academic” study tour led by a professor rather than a generic tour. One good reason: someone I know is leaving today for a tour to Israel, and is not visiting the Palestinian territories at all. Not even Bethlehem. I find it odd that a Christian group would not visit Bethlehem or any other sites in Palestine. To read the article click here: Faith Today.

Photo: Gordon Matties. A window in the staircase at the Church of the Annunciation, Nazareth.

Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Two worthwhile stories on millenials

In the last two days I’ve bumped into two worthwhile stories about millenials (18-30 year olds).  One story was referred to me by a friend from the Winnipeg Free Press that addresses the changing landscape of journalism as Generation Y enters professional communication roles: Generation Y making over media.  The second story was delivered in a RoundTable discussion here at CMU by sociologist James Penner as he shared his recent findings on Hemorrhaging Faith, a journey in (and out of) faith by youth and young adults in Canada.  Both of these stories are pushing me to consider the style and substance of my own interests in creative media that is faith-affirming.

Blogs Faculty - David Balzer

Radio still relevant

A friend of mine in the communications business sent me a note about radio. For anyone who has ears, this information about radio is worth sharing.

“February 13 was the second annual World Radio Day (sponsored by UNESCO. It was created to promote worldwide access to information and freedom of expression over airwaves.

An article on Mashable ( on the occasion of World Radio Day says the following about this medium.”

From Mashable…
Despite the evolution of high-speed Internet and television’s prevalence in today’s culture, radio is still a very important and relevant medium — especially in developing nations. World Radio Day reminds us not only that digital hasn’t “killed the radio star,” so to speak, but also that radio can help drive change around the world.

Below, we’ve compiled five intriguing facts about global radio use that may surprise you.

1. 95% of the World’s Population Uses Radio
According to UNESCO, more than 95% of the world’s population uses radio. That high figure probably says it all, but to put it in even more perspective, this is compared to roughly one-third of the global population having access to Internet at all (let alone reliable or high-speed connections).

2. Most Households in Developing Nations Have Radio
As of 2010, at least 75% of households in developing countries have access to a radio, while only 20.5% of households in developing nations have access to the Internet.

As a result, radio can reach the most isolated communities (which includes many Native American populations in the U.S.), in addition to the poorest, where Internet cannot.

3. Radio Is the Only News Medium on the Rise in Russia Since 2008
Besides radio, all traditional forms of news media in Russia are in decline — even in Moscow, where there is an advanced print media market. The average monthly adult readership for daily newspapers decreased by 3.1% between 2006 and 2010.

Daily radio audiences, on the other hand, have risen 4% since 2008.

4. Radio Signals Are More Reliable

Certain geographical features affect the way countries receive information. For example, in rural areas of the Philippines, mountains get in the way of TV signals, but not radio communications. Radio reaches 85% of the entire country, while TV reaches just under 60%. As a result, radio is considered the most reliable medium for distributing news in the Philippines’ rural interior.

5. AM/FM Still More Popular Than Online Streaming
American adults listen to eight times more AM/FM radio than satellite radio, and 17 times more than Internet audio streaming. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change as innovation in the space increases.

Faculty - David Balzer General News News Releases Student Projects

CMU Students Inspire Change through Radio

March 6, 2012 – Communications & Media Students Join with Local Radio Station IGNITE 107FM to Help “Ignite Change” – Communications and Media students from Canadian Mennonite University have produced a series of radio spots in two unique formats to help inspire change in teens and young adults as part of Ignite 107FM’s “Ignite Change” campaign. The Golden West radio station will broadcast the CMU students’ radio spots from March 5 to May 20, 2012.

“CMU’s media workshop class took on the challenge of understanding the station’s target audience of 15- to 35-year-old males and developing original content. It’s been a real privilege to partner with the station and Kyle Rudge, IGNITE’s Program Director. Getting to this point, where the radio spot series have made it to air, is very exciting for everyone involved,” says CMU Instructor David Balzer, who teaches Communications and Media courses and produces CMU’s weekly radio show Sunday@CMU.

Students worked in two production teams. One group called its project “Let’s Talk;” the other designed a series called the “CMU Skylab.”

The “Let’s Talk” team included media students Amy Beckwith, Evelyn Kampen, Cameron MacDonald, Laura Tait, and Matthew Veith. Their goal was to ignite change through the act of listening to others. The five students took to the frosty winter streets of Winnipeg with only a provocative sign reading “Let’s Talk” and a microphone. One of the passersby, who stopped to talk, later remarked: “Thank you for listening. Not many people take the time to talk to me!”

What makes the interviews unique is that the interviewers have no questions. “This experience reminds me to take time to listen,” says Veith. “I’m always hurrying to places. This activity has forced me to pay attention to what’s going on in other people’s lives. It really is eye-opening.”

The “CMU Skylab” radio spot series was produced by Daniel Friesen, Thomas Krause, Erin Olsen, and Alec Schaefer. The series is hosted by a “humorous alien scientist” named Dr. Karl from his UFO-like laboratory. The host, being concerned with the notion of social change on Earth, sends his earthling assistants out to interview people who actively give of themselves to make a difference in the lives of those around them. He enjoys adding his own brand of witty banter as commentary throughout the spots.

Kyle McDonald, author of “One Red Paperclip,” states in an audio interview with earthling and CMU student Daniel Friesen, “If you do something, and continue on that path, eventually something great will come of it… it’s easy to do and the sacrifice is really small.”

The student team feels that Kyle MacDonald’s experience of trading up from a paperclip to owning a house in Saskatchewan captures the spirit of the Ignite Change campaign, which encourages listeners to believe that starting small can lead to a big difference.

Ignite 107FM will broadcast the Let’s Talk and CMU Skylab series from March 5 to May 20, launching a new spot each Monday morning at 8:20 am during The Hype morning show. The featured radio spot will then run for one week, aired four times a day at a variety of times.

Tune in to Ignite 107FM, or visit or to hear the Let’s Talk and CMU Skylab radio spot series.

“Let’s Talk” Series
Let’s Talk – Perry

Let’s Talk – Whitney

Let’s Talk – Rex

Let’s Talk – Natalie

Let’s Talk – Meagan

Let’s Talk – Idressa

Let’s Talk – Christopher

Let’s Talk – Brenna
“CMU SkyLab” Series
CMU Skylab – Kyle MacDonald
[audio:|titles=CMU SKYLAB – Kyle MacDonald]

CMU Skylab – West Broadway Youth Outreach
[audio:|titles=CMU SKYLAB – West Broadway Youth Outreach]

CMU Skylab – Manitoba House
[audio:|titles=CMU SKYLAB – Manitoba House]

Golden West Radio is “Community Service Radio” serving small and medium-sized communities across Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta with a network of AM and FM radio stations and Online Community websites.

A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences, and social sciences, as well as two graduate degree programs. CMU has over 1,700 students, including Menno Simons College and Outtatown students, and is a member of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

For further information on Ignite Change radio spot series, contact student project representatives:
Let’s Talk – Laura Tait,
CMU Skylab – Erin Olsen,

Release prepared by:
CMU Communications & Media Student Evelyn Kampen

Faculty - David Balzer

To Tweet or not to Tweet: Social media workshop

A timely workshop specifically for non-profit, NGO and faith-based communicators in the Winnipeg area.  This workshop is being coordinated by the team that puts together the Going Barefoot Communications Conferences.

To Tweet or not to Tweet: Developing a social media strategy for your organization
Presenter: Susie Parker, Sparker Strategy Group
When: February 17, 2012 (Friday), 10 am – 1 pm, lunch included
Where: Canadian Mennonite University, 600 Shaftesbury Blvd (South Campus, southwest corner of Grant and Shaftesbury) Conference Room, main floor
Cost: $25/person. (Payment at door.)
RSVP: By February 3, 2012 to  John Longhurst,
Using social media to raise awareness of your organization comes naturally to some, and is a mystery to others. For many this communication channel raises questions we’ve not been asked to think about before: What does your organization want to achieve on social media?
What’s your social media message? How do you attract friends/followers? Twitter, Facebook, Google+ – how many channels are enough/too many? Who is the ‘face’ of your social media presence? What are the rules: Content? Frequency? Relevance? Repetition? Tone? How do you measure success in social media?
Audio News RSB News & Program Highlights Sunday@CMU Radio

President Speaks about New Business School

On October 19, 2011, CMU launched its new Redekop School of Business, made possible through the generosity of the Redekop family of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.

“We are deeply gratified to announce a significant gift from the Redekop Family that enables CMU to establish its new School of Business,” says Canadian Mennonite University President Gerald Gerbrandt.

Dr. Gerald Gerbrandt

President Gerbrandt recently joined David Balzer, host of the Sunday@CMU radio program, in studio to tell the story of this gift and its significance for students.

Story behind the gift
[audio:|titles=20111023 Gerbrandt intv ]

Significance for students
[audio:|titles=20111030 Gerald Gerbrandt intv]