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HomeFeaturesYoung journalists face industry challenges

Young journalists face industry challenges

In North America, there is a growing mistrust for news and as a direct result of that, news outlets are being forced to lay off their workers. Many spend countless hours just to get their foot in the door, but even with their hard work, their jobs are no longer secure.

This year alone, almost 2,000 Canadian journalists have lost their jobs, and CBC plans to continue this trend by laying off more than 600 more next year.

Many writers fear the security of their jobs, and it’s affecting current students. Humber College’s Bachelor of Journalism Fall 2023 intake was suspended due to a low number of applicants. Mohawk College has done the same for their Advanced Diploma in Journalism.

With such a high risk of unemployment, some journalism alumni are opting to work in other careers like communications and public relations.

Despite the decline of journalism jobs, there are students with a burning passion for the art who are driven to work in the industry.

Tammy Raycraft graduated from the Durham College Journalism – Mass Media program last year and said as soon as she started the program, she knew the career was for her.

Tammy Raycraft headshot
Tammy Raycraft graduated from the Durham College Journalism – Mass Media program in 2022.

“As soon as I got in, I fell in love,” said Raycraft. “There wasn’t really anything about the program that I didn’t feel comfortable with or didn’t want to do.”

Originally, she dropped out of high school and worked a variety of “shitty jobs,” but found her passion for writing while completing her GED.

She entered Durham College as a mature student and never doubted her new path.

She interned for the Globe and Mail at the end of her studies and applied for the Toronto Star paid internship following it, but she wasn’t selected. She was told she needed more experience writing and took it as an opportunity to get her degree in communications.

Raycraft recently applied for the Globe and Mail summer internship to gain more writing experience while completing her degree.

Luke Mandato is another alumnus of Durham College’s journalism program but wasn’t always fully committed to the profession. He had thoughts of becoming a teacher.

Headshot of Luke Mandato
Luke Mandato is another alumnus of Durham College’s journalism program.

“I was in a class actually in first year and I was watching a professor teach at the front of the front of the class and I thought to myself, ‘I think I would be good at that,’” said Mandato.

He also had thoughts of going into communications and public relations but eventually journalism “clicked” for him.

“I remember that clicking kind of near the end of first year, going into the second year of the two-year program where I was thinking, ‘OK, I’m good at this, I like this,'” said Mandato.

He ended up interning at MobileSyrup, which he still freelances for, along with some other publications. While Mandato enjoys what he’s doing and is currently looking for full-time journalism positions, he remains open to the idea of teaching.

Katie Sampson was another graduate of Durham College’s journalism program. From high school, she had an interest in sports journalism, but she didn’t go directly into a writing program.

Katie Sampson headshot
Katie Sampson, another graduate of Durham College’s journalism program, is working toward a career in sports.

She wanted to have a background in sports beforehand, so she went into a fitness and health promotion program but later switched to journalism.

Going in she only wanted to write about sports and had no interest in other beats.

“My first class was hard news and I remember we were writing about a fire, and my first thought was, this isn’t what I want to do, why do I have to pay attention,” said Sampson.

She did open up to writing about other types of news, but she knew she wanted to end up in sports.

She interned for the Peterborough Petes and said it made her passion more “concrete.”

“I loved the job that I was doing and I loved mixing everything that I knew, I was passionate,” said Sampson. “So not only did I get to do the journalism, I got to be in the sports industry and I got to just enjoy going to my placement every day.”

She now works for 680 City News and likes the setting of the news environment, but hopes to transition into sports.

“I still see myself ending up in sports because, like I said, the game day atmosphere there, nothing beats it,” said Sampson.

All three are examples of passionate journalists who want a career in the industry despite the trends. With journalism facing a historic decline in demand, these three individuals are part of a new movement aiming to address this challenge.

Some aim to work at major outlets that are downsizing, like CBC, while others may end up writing freelance, or for smaller publications. This is a rising trend with journalists today.