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December 2017
Digital News Innovation Challenge
Ryerson-Facebook partnership looking for startups to disrupt journalism

This week, Ryerson's school of journalism announced the  Digital News Innovation Challenge  to drive innovation for Canadian journalism and news organizations, in a three-way partnership with the Facebook Journalism Project and the Digital Media Zone (DMZ).  

The challenge will give five chosen startups up to $100,000 in non-dilutive seed capital, as well as a $50,000 Facebook marketing budget. They will also receive a five-month residency at DMZ Sandbox, growth mentorship and will be able to attend workshops on digital news and media in Toronto.

Participating startups need to have plans that tackle a compelling issue within Canadian digital news. They will be chosen based on their innovative digital news and storytelling ideas, business model and leadership team.

RSJ graduate program director, Asmaa Malik, is part of the steering committee for the challenge. She said that they are looking for a group that has "passion" and "commitment" to solve a problem in Canadian digital news (full story).  Watch the video here
Covering Disasters: A Critical Lens

When foreign journalists descend upon places recently torn apart by natural disasters, they are often given more access than they are used to at home.

But Canada's bureau chief for the  New York Times , Catherine Porter said if you want to cover tragedy with respect and sincerity, you have to think critically in those moments of access and treat foreign victims like you would treat victims at home.

At the  Ryerson Review of Journalism 's fall conference, Covering Disaster: A Critical Lens  on Nov. 21,  Porter, who was keynote speaker, recalled the time she was led into a room inside one of the few hospitals left standing in Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake hit Haiti  (full story).   
Managing Social Media
Lead with caution on social media, journalists urge

Social media can be a journalist's best friend, or their worst enemy - depending on who you're talking to and on what day. Sometimes the biggest challenge is trying to build a distinguishable brand while remaining impartial about the topics you discuss.  

In October the  New York Times  updated their social media guidelines to stress the importance of remaining impartial online. In the R yerson Review of Journalism  podcast,  Pull QuotesLaura Howells interviewed Matthew Ingram from the  Columbia Journalism Review , Cynthia Collins, the  New York Times'  social media editor and journalist, David Uberti about the new policy.

The conversation brought up some interesting points about a journalist's presence on social media, something that is also a point of discussion  among journalism students at Ryerson University  ( full story ). Find all Pull Quotes podcasts here
Headliners 2017
Profiles of this year's winners

Wendy Mesley, RSJ '90

If you ask Wendy Mesley what she remembers most about journalism school at Ryerson in the late '70s, she'll tell you about the nights spent drinking with friends in the upstairs bar of the Imperial Pub.

"I remember making friends and having fun," she said with a laugh, a few days after being inducted into the Ryerson School of Journalism (RSJ) Headliner hall of fame.

This month, Mesley was recognized with the title by the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association (RJAA) at the 2017 awards ceremony   ( full story ). 
David Skok, RSJ '02

As an intern at The Team radio on 1050 AM, David Skok was cutting tape when all of the station staff - except for him - got paraded out of the studio. As Skok continued editing that day in the Summer of 2002, everyone outside of the studio was being told that the station was shutting down. They were losing their jobs.

"That was the beginning to my awakening to the fact that business plays a huge role in our ability to do our work," he said.

Over the next few years, moments like this one would become all too familiar  ( full story ). 
JCU Pub Talks
Students network with industry professionals

The Ryerson Journalism Course Union (JCU) hosted their annual networking event, Pub Talks , this month, an evening full of networking, mingling and munching.

Desmond Cole, Ginella Massa and Kevin McGran were among the names on this year's guest list at the Nov. 10 event at Joey Eaton Centre.

Miriam Valdes-Carletti, JCU fourth-year representative, said this year the course union wanted to ensure students have an opportunity to mingle with a diverse group of professional guests  ( full story ). 
RSJ Awards
Celebrating Journalism's best and brightest

On November 20, 2017 the School of Journalism celebrated its annual awards ceremony.  Hear from some of our students expressing their gratitude to the donors. Watch the video here

Toronto Star reporter's  book examines deaths of Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay

Toronto Star reporter Tanya Talaga went to Thunder Bay, Ont. to write about why Indigenous people don't vote in federal elections, but came back committed to investigating the deaths of seven Indigenous high school students and the education system that failed them.

Talaga, a two-time recipient of the Project of the Year National Newspaper Award, detailed the stories of the seven students in her  new book " Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City.

She recently discussed the book, which has been shortlisted for the  Hilary Weston Writers Trust Prize for Nonfiction, at a Ryerson Journalism Research Centre event attended by about 100 journalism students  ( full story ).

Watch the webcast  here
Going undercover justified by compelling public interest

Undercover work by journalists is justified only if there's a compelling public interest and no other way to get the story, says the  Toronto Star reporter who recently posed as a temporary worker at a large industrial bakery.

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, who covers labour, precarious work and poverty issues for the  Star, said it was difficult to get temp workers at Fiera Foods to talk about their experiences on the record so,  to get the story, she went undercover in May 2017 as a temp worker in the Toronto factory.

"As journalists we have an ethical obligation to be completely transparent about who we are, to be upfront about what we're doing and what we're reporting on," said Mojtehedzadeh, who co-authored the final story with Brendan Kennedy.  "So it really does take something super- compelling for us to override that obligation. What we try and look at is 'Is this story representative of the big systemic problem that it's worth the resources that it's going to take to investigate?'"  ( full story ).
Grads at Work
Julia Belluz
(RSJ '07)

Senior Health Correspondent
Vox News
Washington, D.C.

You've carved a beat in the health sciences, what sparked your interest in health reporting?

I think the moral and ethical questions that are part of most conversations about health and science are fascinating. The stakes are also very high. We're usually talking about life and death matters, issues that deeply affect people and how they live. I also simply find medical science fascinating. There are so many different areas to explore and learn about it, and share with your audience  ( full story ). 

Grads at Work is an occasional series of profiles of RSJ alums. If you know of a notable grad you'd like to see featured, send us an email at office.journalism@ryerson.ca.
RSJ Voices
Video: Grads reflect on j-school experience 

Shannon Cuciz (RSJ '14) 
Anchor, Global News Morning Winnipeg

"Everywhere I wanted to volunteer and intern was steps away from where I was getting my education." Watch here.

Watch all RSJ Voices interviews  here.
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Don't be a stranger!

Alumni can stay connected in several ways: 

1.) Volunteer to be your newsroom's contact to help us stay in touch or find partnership opportunities. 

2.) Contribute to J-Source, Canada's journalism portal, whose editorial centre is now housed at Ryerson. 

4.) Make a donation now. Or consider making a planned gift to the School of Journalism.

5.) Join other alumni to foster journalism in the developing world.

6.) Take a tour of the School. 

Whatever your choice, let us know and we'll be in touch.

Upcoming Events
Dec. 22 to Jan. 7, 2018
Ryerson University is closed. The school reopens on Monday, Jan. 8. 
Jan. 12, 2018
Winter 2018 classes begin. 
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