“I received an email in March from Scott Moore, who said he wanted to set up a time to talk,” says Brian Gabrial, chair of Concordia’s Department of Journalism. “I often get these requests, usually for internships. Instead, Scott said that he was looking to make a donation.”
“He’s friends with Bob Babinski, a long-time instructor in our department and a veteran journalist, and Bob suggested giving a gift to Concordia,” Gabrial says. “It’s an amazing contribution to the program, a chance to support our students — it’s a tremendous gift for them.”
Concordia’s Department of Journalism offers a three‐year undergraduate program, two one-year graduate diploma programs — including a new visual journalism program — and a two‐year MA in journalism studies. The undergraduate and graduate diploma programs focus on all aspects of digital journalism, combining skills development with courses in journalism history, media law and ethics, and critical approaches.
The department’s small workshop courses provide access to instructors — all of whom are former journalists. Complementing these workshops are lecture‐based courses that focus on journalism’s social, economic, political and ideological impacts.
Students have access to state‐of‐the‐art media technology, including digital and broadcast labs and studio facilities. The Advanced Radio News course takes a unique approach of recreating a real‐world radio newsroom, where each student works two three‐hour shifts, producing two 15‐minute radio newscasts per week.
“A journalism program is relatively expensive to run, since our equipment is costly,” Gabrial says. “Donations from news organizations are important to us because they allow us to be innovative in our curriculum, to be creative.”
This year, the Department of Journalism celebrates its 40th anniversary. “When we were looking back at what makes this program stand out, we realized that we have successful alumni in online, print and broadcast media at the highest levels across the country,” says Gabrial. “That’s impressive because we’re not a huge department.”
The long list of Department of Journalism graduates working in sports journalism includes Geoff Baker, BA 91, sports reporter for the Seattle Times, Stephanie Myles, BA 92, writer and blogger for Yahoo Sports, Jonah Keri, BA 97, best-selling author, andArpon Basu, GrDip 00, managing editor of NHL.com.
Concordia alumni at Sportsnet include Jessica Rusnak, BA 10, sports editor at Sportsnet590 The Fan, staff writer Eric Engels, BA 07, and producer Robert Lendrum, MA 06.
Sportsnet was already a long-time supporter of Concordia students through a number of awards and scholarships, including the Rogers Sportsnet Scholarship in Communication Studies and Journalism, worth $2,400.
Earlier this year Julian McKenzie, online sports editor of the student newspaper The Link, won the $10,000 Sportsnet U Recruited award. The national competition judges students on Canadian university sports stories.
“I know first-hand how it feels to receive financial and career support from Sportsnet,” says McKenzie, an undergraduate journalism student. “Thanks to them, I know I have a future in sports journalism.”
“As a Concordia student, I value the importance of higher education in making my dreams a reality,” says Samantha Mileto, an undergraduate journalism student and former sports editor of the student newspaper The Concordian. “Many students find it hard to pay tuition and make ends meet at the same time. I cannot thank Sportsnet enough for its major contribution toward scholarships for my fellow journalism students.”