Introducing The Green Line journalism course
How my students get to take the ideas and theories I explore in The Other Wave, and make them a reality in The Green Line.
Hey y’all! Anita here. With Study Week upon us, and the winter semester at Ryerson (X) University halfway over, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to transform Canadian journalism through teaching. 👩🏻🏫
My insider’s approach
This year at X University, I’m teaching Journalism Innovation to master’s students again, as well as an undergraduate offering called Digital Reporting Workshop, which is effectively an open-sandbox course that university administrators were gracious enough to let me create from scratch.
Before taking on news internships in their third and fourth years, reporting opportunities for undergrads are often limited to campus publications and in-class assignments. So, I wanted to raise the stakes for students in Digital Reporting Workshop by giving them the opportunity to report for The Green Line. In this particular context, I see my news outlet as a bridge between campus publications and full-on internships so students are better prepared for real-life newsroom settings.
It’s also my way of building out a pipeline of future journalists that I and many other newsrooms would want to hire — those who are not only able to write and report well, but who are also:
Fluently multi-platform, and able to shoot and edit audio or video using a variety of digital tools.
Literate in internet culture.
Comfortable appearing on camera to transparently share their values and reporting process.
Interested in community-driven and solutions journalism.
Here’s a peek at my syllabus for this course:
Students will learn how to create journalistic pieces tailored to digital/social platforms, and to use digital tools for news-gathering. They will be producing local, community-driven stories that will be published on the Instagram and TikTok accounts for The Green Line, which is instructor Anita Li’s startup hyperlocal digital media outlet, as well as on On The Record.
The first few classes will focus on training in and theory behind digital reporting frameworks and tools. After that, the classes will replicate a newsroom setting, where students must report on and file stories by deadline…
This course expands upon the multimedia production skills introduced in the first two years of the journalism program by having students explore and experiment with new digital tools and production methods to help bring their reporting to life. Students will complete a series of modules and assignments that will see them create and integrate interactive content and social media into their news reporting to build engaging and appealing story packages. Students will also learn more about trends in digital storytelling, and develop their editorial judgement in the formulation and pitching of multimedia news stories.
My outsider’s approach
I’ve taken a similar approach when it comes to empowering underrepresented communities to use reporting techniques to tell their own stories. Case in point: One of The Green Line’s partners is The Trustee Hub, an initiative that helps build the administrative and financial capacity of grassroots groups in Toronto, so they're better equipped to generate meaningful social change.
Last week, I hosted a free 90-minute community-driven journalism workshop for The Trustee Hub’s trusteed local organizations where I taught attendees how to engagingly tell their community’s stories on digital platforms like Instagram and TikTok, as well as how to create a community-driven story pitch that attracts media attention.
Some of the attendees represent organizations that run their own hyperlocal community newsletter, so who better to fill in gaps in news coverage of these underrepresented communities than the very people from those communities?
Paid opportunities: TGL Fellows and feature reporters
The Green Line is currently looking for a talented investigative and/or feature reporter based in Toronto who specializes in labour issues. We offer competitive freelance rates, and are interested in long-form pitches that tackle a systemic labour issue in the city through a solutions lens.
The Green Line is also hiring Technology Innovation Fellows, Business Development Innovation Fellows, as well as News Innovation Fellows who are interested in reporting on digital communities, e/sports and sneakers, especially through a Toronto lens. I’m prioritizing applicants who identify as being from underrepresented communities in Toronto, which in this context means people who don’t see themselves reflected in legacy local media.
If you want to learn more about either of these opportunities, feel free to contact me for more information. Or if you’re interested, please send me your resume, cover letter and links to three clips (multimedia is preferred for Fellows applicants and longform is preferred for labour-reporter applicants).
In my community
I’ll be presenting at Data Driven, a free data journalism event on Feb. 23 that’s hosted by Humber College's StoryLab. It features panellists who’ll provide an in-depth look at the strategies they use to turn raw data into news stories.
Also on Feb. 23, Canada2020 is hosting The Future of News, a conversation about sustainability in media with leaders from across Canada’s news publishing sector, including The Logic’s David Skok, Village Media’s Jeff Elgie, Nordstar Capital’s John Boynton, The Narwhal’s Emma Gilchrist and yours truly.
The International Journalism Festival, where I’ll be speaking on two panels, just released its full schedule from April 6 to 10. If you’re a fellow journo who’ll be joining me in Perugia, give me a shout! I’d love to connect.
I absolutely loved reading “I savored the Newmark EJCP because it is the ‘anti-journalism program’ program” by Tanmoy Goswami, one of my former students and founder of Sanity, an independent publication covering mental health.
Cool stuff I like
As a huge fan of Canadian comedians, LOL: Last One Laughing Canada felt like a long weekend gift. The reality show features a who’s who of Canadian comedy royalty — including host Jay Baruchel, Caroline Rhea, Andrew Phung, Dave Foley, Mae Martin and Tom Green — competing to make each other laugh.
Speaking of iconic Canadian comedians, Mike Myers’ Wayne’s World — one of my all-time favourite movies — marks its 30th anniversary this year. Five years ago, for its 25th anniversary I wrote an ode to Wayne’s World robo-babe Cassandra (played by Tia Carrere) for New York Magazine.
I highly recommend watching this nuanced and illuminating Royal Society of Arts video of David Olusoga and Mary Beard, one of my favourite historians, debating about statue removals and reflecting on the evolving dialogue between past and present.
How you can support The Other Wave
My professional mission has always been to support the global movement towards more thoughtful, impactful news coverage, and all the ways that manifests. If The Other Wave gets you to think even a little differently about journalism, especially in Canada, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do. And if TOW gets you to take action and support Canadian media outlets — especially ones that strive to be innovative and inclusive — I will have exceeded my expectations.
If my values and goals resonate with you, please consider supporting fiercely independent media analysis that fills in gaps in coverage of the Canadian journalism landscape. How? Feel free to provide feedback, pass along resources, donate money or simply share this newsletter with your friends.