Ryerson Review of Journalism wins six AEJMC awards
My fabulous students, who produced the Winter 2011 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism, just won several awards in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication Student Magazine Contest:
- Winter 2011 issue (editor: Liam Casey) — First Place, Single Issue of an Ongoing Print Magazine: Editorial
Judge’s comments: The depth and breadth of stories covered with top-notch, professional work. I wouldn’t have known this was student journalism had I just picked it up and started reading. The stories were so compelling I could hardly put it down. The story about Esquire’s Chris Jones was just as intriguing as Jones’s work itself. And the clean yet appropriately creative design simply elevated the copy to its highest level. Nice work!
- “Suicide Notes” by Liam Casey — First Place, Consumer Magazine Article: Investigation and Analysis
Judge’s comments: Well written and researched. A look at suicide and cultural shame in the decision that faces the media in choosing to (or not to) to write about suicides. The writer brought first person insight and passion to the investigation without over-playing the dramatics.
- “140 Characters in Search of a Story” by Ashley Csanady — First Place, Consumer Magazine Article: Feature
Judge’s comments: This piece has all the ingredients of an ideal magazine feature: It explores the big- picture impact of Twitter on the world of journalism through a sharply focused examination of local political coverage in Ottawa. Its portrayal of the changing news business is lively and engaging. The writing is smart and creative, but not at all overwrought. The piece is impressively reported and clearly organized. It is thoughtful and analytical, but lets the facts and carefully constructed anecdotes tell the story.
- “Not All Smurfs and Sunshine” by Matthew Scianitti — Second Place, Consumer Magazine Article: People Judge’s comments: Stories about writers and why they write can often be painful reading. This is an outstanding exception. It details the career of Chris Jones and his long-form journalism in Esquire and other major magazines on such diverse subjects as the return home of an Iraqi KIA, Tiger Woods and movie critic Roger Ebert who was rendered mute by cancer. The author reveals Jones in all his aspects: his ambitions, both his temper and his patience, his honesty (his brother hasn’t spoken to him since he revealed the sibling’s infidelity in the Tiger Woods story), and most of all, Jones’ obsession with factual reporting. “In journalism,” the author quotes Jones as saying, “objectivity as this ideal should be replaced with truth. As long as your story is 100 percent accurate, no one can question you.” These are words for all of us to live by.
Meanwhile, the Summer 2011 issue, produced by lovely and talented people who were not my students, picked up two awards:
- “War Torn” by Vesna Plazacic — Third Place, Consumer Magazine Article: First Person
Judge’s comments: A combination of memoir, reporting and analysis, this piece stands out for its ambition. The author—a daughter of a Bosnian Serb and a Bosnian Croat—uses her own divided identity to question why the world media (actually, the Canadian media) did not successfully pursue and report the Bosnian war and atrocities. The writer is most comfortable with the memoir part—and that makes it fresh—and the reporting, through key journalists who covered the war, gives a truth-in-hindsight understanding. I was not convinced by the question at the core of the story: the writer asking why the media didn’t do its job. The question felt contrived. And the resolution—that it was hard to cover the war—seemed too easy. But overall, the piece is a complex work of a careful writer willing to use her personal life as a journalistic lens.
- “Vice Goes Global” by Stephen Baldwin — Third Place, Consumer Magazine Article: Feature
Judge’s comments: Who knew that Vice magazine had such an interesting history? This business feature about a media conglomerate is told with such color and detail that it makes the subject come alive in a totally engaging way. The depth of reporting, the clever organization and the intelligent, thoughtful writing combine to make this a completely professional feature article from start to finish.