Calyn Shaw can trace the path to his position at CBC News this summer directly back to the reporting he did for a story about bridge suicides for his Investigative Journalism class at the University of British Columbia.
“It was 15 months of Freedom of Information requests, research and interviews before the story materialized,” said Shaw, who graduated with his Master of Journalism degree last month.
But the hard work paid off. Not only did the story air on CBC’s The National, it helped him secure a job in the broadcaster’s Vancouver newsroom once he finished his two-year program.
Shaw’s path is not unique to graduates of UBC’s Graduate School of Journalism. Students finish with more than just a Master’s degree, but a portfolio of work that showcases the value they can bring to a news organization.
For recent grad Aleksandra Sagan (pictured behind the camera above right), who will soon start work in the Globe and Mail’s Vancouver bureau, the most instructive — and gratifying — assignment was reporting on development pressures and land disputes in Brazil as part of the International Reporting Program.
Sagan said the trip, which saw she and her classmates reporting alongside international reporting veterans from The New York Times and 60 Minutes to produce a video documentary that was published on the NYT website, “was one of the standout, best experiences” she had in j-school.
Video wasn’t the only medium in which Sagan honed her skills, however.
“I now believe that no matter what journalistic job I end up doing, I’ll be more than capable at it,” she said.
The class of 2012′s Matthew Black (pictured at right) said it was the work he did between the first and second years of j-school that laid the groundwork for his post-graduation plans.
“The internships I secured through the school were life-changing events,” said Black. He split his time between the sports department at the Vancouver Sun, where he was tasked with covering the Canuck’s run to the Stanley Cup finals, and the CBC’s London bureau.
Black joins the CBC team once again this summer as a recipient of the prestigious Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship.
“J-school exposed me to different platforms of storytelling,” he said. “That meant learning everything from daily print-style reporting to video and audio editing to digital content, including data visualization and social media.
“But more than anything,” he said, “I think experience clarified my career path.”
UBC journalism graduate Shannon Dooling and former IRP fellow interned at New Hampshire Public Radio.