You are now in the main content area

Journalism Now: Toronto High School Journalism Conference 2019

By: Cassandra Alzate
October 24, 2019

The Toronto High School Journalism Conference hosted by the Ryerson School of Journalism (RSJ), had twice as many attendees this year as last.

On Oct. 17, more than 250 participants registered for the one-day event to learn what it’s like to work in the business. The event was open to all high school students and teachers to gain new skills, meet peers and connect with pros.  

This time around, the RSJ included one-on-one feedback sessions with media professionals and Ryerson faculty members.

One of the organizers, RSJ MJ alum Laura Howells, explained how she approached to organizing the event.

“I want the conference to be a space where teens can learn from some of the best in the media business, while also meeting students from other schools and sharing ideas. I think it's really important for students who are involved in high school journalism/media to have an in-person forum for developing their skills and broadening their community of peers,” said Howells.

Adrian Ma, assistant professor at the RSJ, said  the conference is an important way of informing the public on how journalism is now practised.

“The public trust in journalism has deteriorated over the years. I think there are many dynamics involved in that decline, including social media's role in disrupting news distribution and the increasingly blurry lines between "opinion" and "analysis." I think an important step in rebuilding that trust, and for people to see the public value of good journalism, is to make much more of a concerted - and sincere - effort to connect to young people and high school students,” said Ma.  

Ma said the event allows the opportunity for students to recognize the influence media plays in their life.

“We know that this generation has more media and information at their fingertips than any previous. But understanding where that information comes from and the power they can have by being well-informed is absolutely vital.”

“I think that by inviting them to join the process, to have a chance to meet people in the industry and hear about what's at stake, and to learn about everything involved in good reporting can inspire them to see that this stuff really matters and that they can - and should - be a part of it,” Ma said.

With over 30 speakers, 24 exclusive sessions and tours from RSJ’s very own newspapers—this was a chance for students to find out what journalism can offer.

“Students heard from an opening panel of journalists who broke big stories, before getting to choose between different breakout sessions on everything from interviewing skills, to arts journalism, photography and business skills, to personal branding. The sessions were led by industry professionals and Ryerson faculty,” said Howells.

Whether students had media experience or not—the event was designed to give a taste of Canadian journalism through sessions which included TV reporting, developing graphics skills, and working out story ideas. From photography lessons by using your smartphone to conducting their own mini podcast, the day was filled with exciting workshops and activities.  

To stay connected on future events, you can check out Journalism Now, external link and the RSJ website.

Special thanks goes out to co-organizer Jaclyn Mika, and our sponsors: Canadian Journalism Foundation, CWA Canada, School News Online, and Salad King.

Jane Lytvynenko, BuzzFeed News and Natalie Turvey, CJF, teaching students how to spot misinformation online.