The Chronicle is now on ‘Main Street’.
The first day of second semester, second-year journalism students were surprised to learn they had their own newsroom.
The Durham College journalism programs had been putting together The Chronicle newspaper and website and a radio program on the Riot in multiple classrooms, but now students have a place to produce news and information 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
The room, formally known as B138, is better known to those on campus as the room adjacent to The Pit, beside the Marketplace cafeteria.
It used to be the old Student Association’s (SA) Clubs and Societies room. When the Durham College and UOIT SA divorced last year, the room remained empty. Until now.
Journalism professors Brian Legree, Danielle Harder and Teresa Goff, put in a program change request to the Program Proposal Review Committee (PPRC). The PPRC brings recommended program changes to Elaine Popp, Durham’s vice-president, academic.
The new room is part of a plan in which the second-year journalism students would participate in an eight-month-long, experiential learning, newsroom environment. The professors proposed to use the vacant room in The Pit as their functioning newsroom.
It is a ministry mandate, as well as a goal for the college, to have an experiential learning component in every program, said Popp.
She wants the components to be “robust, meaningful, and truly prepare students to be career-ready when they’re graduating from us. We want our graduates to be sought after in the industry that they’ve been trained in. “
Through the request, it was also brought to the attention of Greg Murphy, the dean of the School of Media, Art and Design, as well as Durham College president Don Lovisa.
Murphy said it was Lovisa’s idea to give the room to The Chronicle, since it is a high-profile spot on campus.
“It was really Don Lovisa who made the decision, and he had to really look at different possible uses for that room and see that The Chronicle had a great history of really representing the school well.”
Students will be more aware of The Chronicle, now that it is in a high-traffic area, both Murphy and Legree, the journalism program coordinator, agree.
“For several years, the journalism program team has wanted to be on, what we call, ‘Downtown Durham College,’ or on ‘Main Street,’ much like any major media organization. They want to be in the heart of the action.”
Legree said it will be beneficial for journalism students because they will not only have more hands-on experience, but will be accountable for their actions. The front of the new room is all glass, so students can be seen at all times while working in The Chronicle space.
Lovisa wants to see a vibrancy in the newsroom after that space sat quiet and dark for several months.
“It’s a very public space, a space where what I am trying to achieve is that there is always something going on. There’s life there, and when students are sitting in the pit, they see something going on. So it just made sense to make it into a newsroom.”
Peter Fitzpatrick, a first-year journalism student who will have use of the room all year starting next fall, is excited to be in a more professional environment.
“I think it will be very beneficial. It will give more experience going into the workplace. Getting into the newsroom. It will give me the tools to succeed.”