Journalism Graduate Diploma student Paula Sant’ Anna and her documentary partner Jessica Bouchard used their phones to film a piece on gentrification in Verdun, and conducted interviews while walking outside to ensure social distancing. Despite the difficulties filming the piece, including limited access to in-person interviews and equipment, Sant’ Anna says she’s appreciative of Lazar’s efforts to connect with students.
“The check-ins were probably the most human interaction I had during this year of online classes,” she said. “Not only was it nice to do emotionally, but it was also great to get to know my peers better.”
The class ultimately became her favourite course and not just for the content, she says. “(Lazar) became everyone's dad, even if he didn't know it.”
Journalism department chair David Secko agrees that Barry Lazar is always there to help.
“He was active at every faculty meeting as the department designed how to better help students online,” says Secko. “It was clear his documentary class was going to be a special and rewarding adaptation to the pandemic.”
Journalism Graduate Diploma student Eric Dicaire and his partner Tom Lundy created an audio documentary on Indigenous support workers in Montreal and said it was nerve-wracking recording during the pandemic.
“But we and our sources were very transparent about our comfort levels and did everything we could to make each other feel safe,” says Dicaire. Like the other students, he says he’s grateful for Lazar’s support.
“I look at stories differently now. If every other course taught me how to be a journalist, Barry's class taught me how to be a storyteller,” he says. “Stories are everywhere and Barry gave me the tools and confidence to share them with others.”
Lazar says despite the challenges, the course evolved and the students’ enthusiasm thrived.
“There were no restrictions on imagination,” he says.
Find out more about Concordia’s Department of Journalism.