Some of our graduates took paths into careers related to journalism, such as commuications or publice relations. The skills they learned in the Journalism program are easily transferrable.
When I started the journalism program at Holland College, our class hit the ground running. Within the first week, we were learning interview techniques, writing structures, abiding by deadlines and writing our own stories. It taught us what it would be like to work in a newsroom setting, which is the most indispensable lesson I learned during my time there.
As a market intelligence analyst, I work under three or four deadlines a day to provide timely, concise market insights to several big corporations, including law firms, banks and pharma companies. Writing with speed and accuracy is the only way to meet these strict deadlines, and I credit my time at Holland College for teaching me the most important skills I needed to get me where I am today. In addition, my instructor has proven time and time again to be an invaluable mentor.
When I decided to go to Journalism school it was because I was curious. I really enjoyed learning new things. I always had my head in a newspaper, news magazine, or one of those free arts and culture tabloids. CBC Radio was constantly on.
I didn’t know if I would make a good journalist, but I figured it would be a perfect excuse to be nosey. I’m still nosey.
The Journalism program at Holland College demands students think and work on their own. The instructors held my hand, that’s for sure, but it was up to me to make things happen – to succeed, or not.
What you get out of this program depends on what you put in. That’s what the real world is like, too. Employers want people who can work on their own, who do things without being asked or told, who are thinking ahead of the game – employees who don’t have to have their hands held.
An important thing I learned in the Holland College Journalism program was how to write for the masses. It’s important to write at a level that’s easily understood by the average Canadian, which doesn’t mean you’re "dumbing down" your work. It just makes it clearer. If you don’t grab your audience right away, it’s game over. That’s the case for newspaper writing, writing for radio or the web, writing news releases or Tweets. It’s the same for writing speeches or talking points for a cabinet minister or helping prepare someone for their very first interview with a reporter. One thought per sentence.
Spelling names correctly is also a must. You’ll never regret seeing the words “you’re fired” scribbled at the top of your copy by your Journalism instructor after you spell someone’s name wrong in a story. And you will spell a name wrong – you just won’t spell it wrong a second time.
Years after walking through the doors of Holland College, my passion for learning is still alive. Media relations is a big part of my current job. When a reporter asks a question I have not been asked before, I need to do some digging, talk to people in the department, find out the information and pass it on in an understandable way. I learn new and interesting things all the time.
And I get a rush from this line of work, a rush similar to the rush I used to feel covering a murder case or a fishing dispute. It keeps me running after the same kind of information I ran after when I was the reporter writing the stories.
Newsrooms are great learning environments; they can also be super tough. Being a reporter is a great way to get to know a community or a province. I highly encourage anyone thinking about doing communications work to spend at least a few years in a newsroom. That experience will be highly valuable to a potential employer. And don’t just think of communications work as “the dark side”. There are windows in most communications offices!
A simple passion for newspaper reporting is what drew me to the Holland College Journalism program, but what I took away from it has been invaluable in many aspects of my life. I gained strong writing and analytical skills, a healthy level of skepticism and, most importantly, a strong work ethic.
After graduation from Holland College in 2010, I went on to earn a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Print Journalism from UPEI and received the Robert L. Pace Maritime Broadcasting Systems scholarship. Immediately after convocation in 2012, I moved to Newfoundland and Labrador to put my skills to use at a weekly newspaper in Clarenville, covering local and provincial issues.
While in Newfoundland and Labrador I also gained experience in communications working for the non-profit sector in St. John’s. My journalism training once again helped me to write concise and engaging content for web and social media platforms.
I’ve recently returned to the mainland to pursue my career in communications, but my head and heart are still firmly in the world of journalism and always will be.
I could not have anticipated the opportunities that would come from my decision to study journalism at Holland College.
I was fresh out of high school and, although I loved to write, was uncertain about my ultimate career goal. Fortunately, everything I learned in the program set me up for success, and not just as reporter. Within a year I was a better communicator, knew how to use layout and design programs, how to accept and leverage criticism, and how to master the cold call.
The instructors were caring and patient, but also demanded a high level of quality in each story assignment. They were also strict in maintaining a simulated work environment, something that is absolutely critical for young students like me, who had no professional work experience.
Two compulsory job placements ensured that I was ready to work when the program ended, and I was offered a job before graduation. When I realized the newsroom was not the best fit for me, I quickly transitioned into a career in public relations, and have been in that field for more than a decade. I was able to do that because of what I learned at Holland College.
I didn’t know it then, but being a graduate of the Journalism program would open doors for me in provincial government, and opportunities to work on some of the biggest cultural events ever held in Atlantic Canada.
I have worked in advertising and academia and, through these positions, have been able to attend professional training and conferences that helped advance my career.
It’s been wonderful, and whether I am writing a media release, planning a news conference, designing an ad or pitching a story, my confidence comes from the solid training I received as a Journalism student at Holland College.
The training I received through the Journalism program at Holland College was so much more than learning to interview and write. I gained valuable skills such as critical thinking, time management, listening skills, researching, and being organized, which are skills that are transferable to any position.
Having the ability to communicate effectively has not only aided me in my career, it has also given me the confidence to pursue my dreams, professionally and personally.
I enjoyed being a reporter in P.E.I. and an editor in Happy Valley-Goose Bay before crossing over to a Communications Coordinator with Nalcor Energy on the Lower Churchill Project in Labrador.
Today I am a Safety Administrator with Valard Construction, working on the Lower Churchill Project in Labrador.