By CHRISTINA JONAS
It’s the end of an era at Conestoga College. Spoke, the weekly newspaper produced by journalism students, published its final print edition on April 16.
In September we are moving to a digital-only model that will allow for more real-time news and digital storytelling. Spoke Online (www.spokeonline.com), our current online news site, will continue the print edition’s tradition of featuring high-quality editorial content, including news, features, commentary and photographs, but will be more of a live news website. It will continue to feature Spoke TV’s news programs and student-produced videos but you will also be able to listen to live student-produced CJIQ-FM news reports.
This move comes as Conestoga launches the second year of its new journalism program that focuses on helping students develop the multimedia skills that are used in digital news reporting and storytelling across all media platforms.
Spoke was first published 49 years ago, and over the years has been a treasure trove of information, mainly on Conestoga’s students, programs, services and administration.
Stories ran the gamut, from a tornado touching down at Doon and a minor earthquake, to students winning national awards and Conestoga’s constant construction projects, as the college grew from 188 full-time students in 1968 to the more than 13,000 today.
Of course, sports and entertainment were a big part of the paper as well, whether it was comedian Jim Carrey’s visit in 1982 or one of our many sports teams that were crowned Ontario college champions.
None of it would have been possible without the hundreds of journalism students who over the decades worked tirelessly to produce Spoke, honing their skills while at the same time displaying professionalism and a dedication to their craft.
Some of them are now the best in the business, including David Shoalts, hockey columnist at the Globe and Mail, Howard Elliott, managing editor at the Hamilton Spectator, Laura Czekaj, a reporter at the Ottawa Sun, and Ken MacQueen, former Vancouver bureau chief at Maclean’s magazine.
And so, in September a new group of students will take over the Spoke reins, and will continue the drive toward excellence in researching, reporting, writing, broadcasting, videography and photography.
Until then, we bid you rivedersi – until we see each other again.
Christina Jonas is a professor of journalism and Spoke’s faculty adviser.