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Concordia journalists-in-training turn their lenses on the press

Cecilia Keating reports on the creation of JourNews, a student-powered online magazine
December 23, 2016
By Cecilia Keating

Journalist documenting events at the Independence square. Clashes in Ukraine, Kyiv. Events of February 18, 2014.

Cecilia Keating is currently enrolled in the Journalism Graduate Diploma Program at Concordia. She tweets at @ckeating14.

Police-sanctioned surveillance of Patrick Lagacé, celebrity activism at Standing Rock. underreported missing and murdered Indigenous women, the strained relationship between the Montreal Habs and sports media — all of these topics feature in a new online magazine launched by Concordia graduate journalism students on December 1.

JourNews specifically looks at the state of journalism, with the majority of articles examining the Quebec press in particular. It’s an important topic, says Donna Nebenzahl, part-time journalism professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, who spearheaded the project.

“So many things in Quebec aren’t talked about.”

Nebenzahl incorporated the magazine into the syllabus for her class on news and feature reporting. She was inspired by the quality of writing in magazines produced by other journalism schools across Canada.

“Journalism students have a vested interest to investigate the state of the media. It is their future,” Nebenzahl adds. 

The making of the magazine

The 17 students enrolled in this year’s Graduate Diploma in Journalism, myself included, worked furiously on the magazine for the month of November, ahead of its launch date.

We each applied for and were allocated a different editorial role, which included web design, senior editor, multimedia, research and copy editor. We provided feedback on our peers’ work while also writing our own articles.

The majority of our class worked on investigative pieces in pairs. We held weekly meetings on the Loyola Campus where we made crucial decisions on everything from story ideas to fonts.

Jour News Writing in back

Web design editors Patrick Cahill and Matt Parizot scoured WordPress for the best designs before putting them to a class vote. The goal, says Parizot, “was to showcase all of the class’ work equally, so that everyone could feel a strength in their contribution.”

We wanted each article to be dynamic and showcase different forms of multimedia, making use of video and audio skills we have acquired in other parts of the program.

The multimedia team, headed by Emilee Gilpin, fielded video, sound and images for each article from reporters and made decisions on where they could be set on the page.

Coco Caron-Delas and Jeremy Glass-Pilon, the magazine’s managing editors, worked closely with Nebenzahl, our editor-in-chief, to oversee all aspects of writing, editing and website production, while also setting and managing deadlines.

Caron-Delas admits that it was a race against the clock, but says it was “very rewarding to see everything come together at the end.”

Feedback from the department has so far been good, according to Nebenzahl. She hopes the magazine’s reach will continue to grow on social media.

For her, this year’s edition was “a huge success,” providing a strong template for the future.

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