Becoming an Educator: Teaching the next generation of journalists and media Professionals (Published on CABJ.ca)


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It took me five years to teach in Toronto. My first teaching experience was at Carleton University in Ottawa as a Television Teaching Assistant. I later went on to teach in Kampala, Uganda at Makerere University (the oldest African university) and while I was a graduate student at Concordia University.

I had grown up in Toronto, however, once I reached the age of 18, due to work and school, I spent time outside of the city. I returned to Toronto for my longest stay in any one city since the age of 18 in 2001. I returned to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as well as worked with Canoe.ca, Young People’s Press, the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, freelance talent work, Media Research Institute, Share Newspaper, Pride Newsmagazine and New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine to name a few. I really wanted to make the transition to teaching, and 40-year veteran of journalism Robert Payne helped me to make that transition.

I went to him for career coaching and he let me know in 2005 that there was a job opening in teaching at Centennial College. I applied for the full-time job and although I did not get it, it opened the door for me to teach my first course in Toronto at Centennial in Magazine Journalism that started January 2006.

This experience springboarded into working at Seneca College, University of Guelph-Humber, Humber College, Trebas Institute, George Brown College and Ryerson University. If I did not have my master’s degree from Concordia University in Montréal, I would not be able to do this work.

The landscape for what a lot of post-secondary institutions are asking of journalism educators is changing. Mike Karapita at Humber College calls it “credentializing.” There is a movement for educators to become more educated, and this is a big reason why I am currently doing my Ph.D. in Education at OISE/University of Toronto. I started May 2010.

The next generation of journalism educators has many challenges ahead of them. It is still a competitive market that grows even more competitive because those that are untrained in the field continue to make strides. Journalism education needs more of an emphasis on how young journalists can be entrepreneurs and successfully run their own freelancing business. This is effective from a tax perspective, as well as a job security perspective. Job security is an elusive thing these days; however young journalists can stay on top of this by working for a variety of employers.

If you would like more information on this topic, you can email Donna Kakonge at dkakonge@gmail.ccom.

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