While most people their age were getting ready for a rowdy Friday night on the town, a group of aspiring media-makers attended the Above the Fold and Beyond seminar on January 27. Put on by The Media Huddle and moderated by Shauna Rempel of the Toronto Star, Above the Fold aimed to prepare young journalists for the professional and economic climate of their occupation. The panelists were OpenFile CEO Wilf Dinnick, St. Joseph Media President Doug Knight, Mark News co-founder Jeff Anders, and George Sully, co-founder of TCHAD Quarterly and Design Embassy Group.
The event, which was held at Toronto’s First Canadian Place, was attended by a young, diverse crowd, keenly taking notes as the panelists answered a variety of questions from the audience. One attendee asked about the presence of LGBT content in the organizations that the panelists founded and represented, and what they were doing to address diversity concerns. Only Dinnick, however, chose to respond, lamenting that his young business was simultaneously trying to deal with this and other start-up concerns.
All four did, however, outline what they felt would characterize a successful journalist, agreeing that he or she needs to be an entrepreneur who sells both a media product and a personal brand. The media product, be it print or digital, must be presented as consumer-friendly in the new information marketplace, and the media-maker—sold as a brand—must carve out a niche in which she can flourish while being a flexible multimedia reporter.
Overall, the message was that an aspiring journalist must think of journalism not as a job but as a profession.
Images By Boké Saisi.