J-School News

Class assignments blossom into award-winning journalism

Posted by: admin | On: 23rd Mar, 2018 | Awards, Students

Photo: Some of the current and former School of Journalism students nominated for awards in 2018 (l-r) Jessie Anton, Alex Johnson, Brenna Engel, Jennifer Ackerman, Caitlin Taylor and Josh Diaz. Photo by Rae Graham – U of R Photography


Imagine you are a first year journalism student. You’ve never operated professional video equipment before, you know squat about lighting, and you’ve never had to calmly grill a powerful politician like it’s something you do every day.

Yet before the year is over, you’re producing award-winning journalism. Welcome to the School of Journalism, where class assignments are the real deal. Those stay-up-all-night mid-terms and finals are read and watched by actual people, not just professors. They make news. They make a difference.

Take Crude Power, a widely-shared video documentary that picked up a national Emerge Award on March 22. It was a classroom assignment, produced by students in the school’s intermediate broadcast class, JRN 306.

Crude Power was one of five student classroom assignments that became Emerge finalists, chosen out of some 300 entries across Canada. Nominee Alex Antonyshen’s article ‘Confessions of a Small Town’ was her magazine class assignment for JRN 413, published in The Crow.  Alex also shared a nomination with Alex Johnson and Jessie Anton for ‘Severed,’ their 4th-year video documentary assignment in JRN 411, while Brenna Engel picked up a nomination for her radio documentary ‘I am not a survivor, I am a warrior,’ produced in JRN 402.

Rounding out the field, Tennessa Wild, Alex Johnson, Cheryl Lu, Michael Joel-Hansen and Busayo Osobade picked up an Emerge nomination for an episode of  ’29:49′, a student-produced radio current affairs show that airs on Regina’s CJTR 91.3.

Meanwhile, students in JRN 307, the investigative journalism class, worked on ‘The Price of Oil,‘ a joint national investigation led by the Toronto Star, the National Observer and Global TV that went on to become a finalist for the Canadian Hillman Prize, the country’s top award for investigative journalism.

These are just a few accomplishments in 2018. In recent years, some 30 homework assignments have blossomed into prize-winning, impactful journalism.