Three years, 68 articles, and 68 issues. These three numbers may quantify my time here, but in no way do they accurately sum up my experience here at The Medium.
Once a froshie riddled with anxiety, I spent the summer of 2013 working as an intern, taking a geography course, and binge-watching Gilmore Girls on evenings and weekends. Now, although this is the part where people will likely laugh, as I watched protagonist Rory Gilmore rule the office of the Yale Daily News, I can wholeheartedly admit that she was the sole inspiration that led me to start my journey with The Medium. I don’t know what specifically inspired me, but all I know is that I wanted to give news journalism a shot (although for the record, Rory did start off writing for features). Some people may laugh, but three years later, it’s needless to say that things have worked out pretty well since then and it has been quite the amazing ride.
As I leave both UTM and my desk in the newsroom for the last time today, I will know one thing for sure: The Medium is a place of opportunity. It is a place to grow, make mistakes and learn from them, challenge ideas, and be part of a family who cares about each other and the students of UTM. More importantly, however, The Medium is a place where we as students have the unique opportunity to learn firsthand why this thing called journalism exists.
Earlier this year, I attended Mayor Bonnie Crombie’s inaugural Youth Speaker Series featuring well known business journalist Amanda Lang. On the agenda for the evening was Lang and Crombie discussing Mississauga’s 14 percent youth unemployment rate and advice young people can use to enter the workforce.
As a journalist who has worked for the likes of CNN, CBC, The Globe and Mail, and now works at Bloomberg News, Lang focused her remarks on the power of asking questions, not just for journalists, but for everyday people. As I sat there and listened to Lang, I was reminded why news journalism exists, particularly due to the fact that I possess no formal journalism training. I’ve learned what I know through practice, learning from others, and an interest in the field.
Since I started at The Medium, I have been primarily covering news stories, stories that affect people’s lives on a large or small scale. Whether the story is about U of T administration, an event on campus, UTMSU, UTSU, or a story in the community, we journalists try our best to understand and get to the truth. The field can be challenging at times, but the power of asking questions, as Lang explained, can help us come to a better understanding as to why things are the way they are. But as I leave here today, I hope present and future UTM students will not only continue to ask questions that matter, and work to seek the truth for the 13,000 students who call our campus home, but will continue through life questioning all aspects of our daily lives.
To the amazing family at The Medium who have engaged in endless discussions and questioned both big issues and small, who have laughed until we ended up in tears, and who have worked tirelessly to get the answers students need to know, it’s been one heck of a ride. A very special thank you to Maria Iqbal, who has been not only a mentor and a source of encouragement, but also a dear friend. Thank you also to my family of news writers for growing with me on this journey and helping students get the answers they need. Thank you in particular to my three fearless associates, Menna Elnaka, Kassandra Hangdaan, and Alicia Boatto, for taking initiative and joining the family.
To the smart and ambitious students at UTM, take my advice, if not Lang’s, and try something that scares you, question everything, help others, work to overcome the challenges presented to you, and stay adaptable to new opportunities, new ideas, and to the idea that there is still a lot you have to learn.
Stay curious, UTM.