The Launch of Progress

By: Sam Calio, Community Journalism Trainer

July has been a crazy productive month! I have two summer students, Ozzy and Jared, who are doing amazing work! Both of my students have been writing stories and taking photos for our online paper, Peetabeck News, which we officially launched Aug. 2.

Peetabeck News website, where you can find all of Ozzy and Jared’s stories. Photo by Sam Calio

When my students first arrived in my office, at the beginning of the month, I was a bit overwhelmed. I’ve never been someone’s supervisor. I wasn’t exactly sure what my plan was or how the summer student program worked but I was happy to see two eager faces.

At the beginning, I let my students guide the program. We went over the different mediums of journalism: radio, video, writing and photography and went from there.

Once we had our focus, I threw them into the world of journalism. The expectation was that they produced at least one story a week. Once they decided what they wanted to work on, we were off to the races.

Ozzy focused on personal essays. He loves writing about travel and food, so that has been his niche. He’s written stories about his first trip to Toronto, his grade eight trip and one of his favourite foods: nacho dip.

My other student Jared has written a mix of stories. His biggest accomplishment was writing a story about the water crises that are happening in Attawapiskat and Eabametoong First Nations. He interviewed MP Charlie Angus, Eabametoong First Nation Band councillor Hanna Waswa and an Attawapiskat community member for the story.

When I first met Jared he wasn’t sure if he wanted to do interviews – and then he did three interviews in a week. I couldn’t have been more proud. His water crisis story will be featured in the upcoming issue of Wawatay News.

This is my last week with Jared and Ozzy. They both learned a lot during the last four weeks and improved so much, I hope they had fun in the process. I know there was a steep learning curve but they both did really great.

Next week, I will start working with another set of students. This time I will be more prepared and even more eager to get them working on stories. My plan for next month is to try to get the students into the radio station and exploring different forms of media.

Inside the radio station in Fort Albany. Photo by: Sam Calio

Another accomplishment this month is that my friend, Xavier Inishinapay, is starting his own radio talk show. His first show was on July 31 on CKFA 90.1FM. This is something he has been wanting to do since I arrived and now it’s finally happening. I am very excited and can’t wait to continue working with Xavier on his show.

This month has been busy but I am very happy with the progress that we’ve made. We finally have some great stories posted and people who are showing a real interest in journalism. I am excited to continue my work with the summer student program and I’m hoping to get a few more projects underway.

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