From the Newsroom to the Classroom (and where I’ve been between)

In 1990, the Times Mirror Centre for the People and the Press (now a Pew Research Centre) released a report called “The Age of Indifference.” Drawing from survey data in the U.S., this report concluded that the young generation of the early ‘90s knew less, cared less, and read newspapers less than young people in previous decades. The study warned,“Their limited appetites and aptitudes are shaping the practice of politics and the nature of our democracy.”

To all my fellow millennials out there, I have to ask. Sound familiar?

Concern with youth news consumption dates back at least to the mid 1970s, and some suggest even earlier. It continues to this day, and is especially present in debates on social media and whether increased connectivity among youth populations  necessarily means we’re more “informed.”

I guess it was around my fourth year of journalism school when this notion that “kids don’t care about the news” really started to interest me. As I’ve mentioned, I used to be a kid’s news reporter, and on that job I met so many informed, interested young people who seemed to prove that these concerns were just part of a moral panic fuelled and fanned by the mainstream media themselves.

But I also wondered if those young people, or my news-junkie friends in journalism school, might be the exception rather than the rule. Continue reading

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Not a New Year’s Resolution Post

Three years and a few weeks ago to this day, I typed the headline of my very first blog post.

“Good Evening, Blogosphere.”

I like remembering the me who wrote those words. Averie MacDonald — the starry-eyed, 20-year-old. The ruthless overachiever busting her butt in her second year of journalism school. The girl who felt  nauseous every time she had to pick up the phone and call a source, yet was certain she was destined to be the next great byline at the Globe and Mail or voice of CBC Radio (she still hadn’t decided which).

In many ways, I’m still that girl (whom the few followers of this blog have affectionately come to know as (r)averie).  But the things I want — my goals and aspirations — and the way I define “success”, these things have changed significantly.

(r)averie is now an adult 23.

(r)averie now lives in Toronto.

(r)averie is now a grad student.

(r)averie is about to write a thesis.

Rewind: As I finished up journalism school, I realized I wasn’t done learning. Or rather, I wasn’t done learning in school. The wonderful thing about working as a journalist is that one learns new things every day — but I was hungry for more “formal” learning. I wanted to read — really read. I wanted to think hard and long in the way that my wonderful-but-frantic journalism degree hadn’t allowed me to. And I wanted to write. I had been writing 500 – 1000 word pieces for most of my undergrad, and I got really good at that. But outside a few features and some essays for film studies classes, I felt I never had the space to really express myself. I wanted the chance to build something with the written word.

So that’s what I set out to do.

My friends, you’ve just stepped into my first draft.

…stay tuned.

— (r)averie

I’m still alive, but grad school is my life.

A note to friends, family, and other contacts:

The (r)ave was inactive for a while because I was in Rwanda and blogging at HuffingtonPost Canada. 

Now it’s inactive because grad school has taken over my life.

I am now a happy (and exhausted) M.A. student in the Sociology of Education at OISE, the University of Toronto’s education school.

I know what you’re thinking — isn’t this girl a journalist? Why is she studying education?!

Ah. My friends, let me introduce you to the amazing, exciting, and relatively underappreciated world of critical media literacy.

Basically, my graduate research has to do with the way that children and young people relate to media — how they use it, influence it, and are influenced BY it. Specifically, my thesis research will revolve around how young people define  “news” and relate to that concept in the digital age.

Other things I am doing these days:

-Working as a research assistant on a project that explores social media, social movements, and feminist organizing.

-Consulting on some youth journalism resources for Plan Canada.

-(soon to be) writing some blogs for the Canadian Improv Games website.

-missing Rwanda a lot and all the folks at RadioFlashFM in Kigali.

So there you have it, that’s my life these days.

Just thought I’d update the blog to let you all know I’m back in Canada, and busy busy busy.

Keep on keepin’ on!

–(r)averie

BRB — I’M IN RWANDA!

This post is to redirect your generous attention from this blog to another one. You see, lovely (r)ave readers, I am currently away on another continent, having the journalistic experience of a lifetime. Right now, as we speak, I am sitting in the newsroom in Kigali, Rwanda. I’m doing some reporting and news reading here, and experiencing life as a journalist in a completely foreign culture.

I know what you’re thinking… “OH NO!!! HOW WILL WE SURVIVE WITHOUT THE (R)AVINGS OF OUR DEAR AND BELOVED AVERIEMAC!”

Never fear my friends.

The wonderful people over at HuffingtonPost Canada have offered me a spot on their site for blabbing about my adventures!

So you see, you’ll survive!

Head on over to this link to get your fix!

Read and Enjoy!

–(r)averie

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes!

Hellooo everyone,

Just wanted to check in to the blogosphere (because clearly I am a huge insomniac and have nothing better to do at 11:00 pm).

You guys, I know that I’m really bad for constantly changing the theme of my blog. (Sorry!) But this time, I’ve changed things around FOR A PURPOSE (other than that I wanted a “prettier” theme…)

Today I changed my blog around to better reflects my interests as a reporter.

Over the past few years I’ve realized that what really matters to me, is and always has been, art. My parents are artists (playwright and actress) and much of my family is in some way connected to the film/television/theatre scenes in Canada.

Well, people always say “write what you know,” and I have been. So I decided to make “Arts and Culture” its own page on my blog. I expect you’ll find a lot more up there as this year wears on. 🙂

The other thing I added was a “Kids” category. Children are my passion, and I never get tired of talking with them. That’s why my job at WIGUP.tv (a kid’s website based in Ottawa) was a huge godsend for me. But I’ve never posted much here about it.

I think I’ve always had this thing where I saw my kids reporting as separate, or somehow not “REAL” journalism. But today, after putting in 5 hours covering the annual celebration of the Chess in the Library program, I realized that any cub reporter for a local daily could be covering that story.

The difference is that I am actually connecting with kids and sharing their stories with their peers across the country in their own words. I try to treat my young interviewees as unique individuals, instead of just a mass of cuties with nothing important to say.

Long story short, I was sick of seeing an empty, outdated blog waiting around for more “serious, important, newsworthy” clippings to fill its pages. I am passionate about art, and kids. and if I can’t promote those passions here, what kind of a pseudo-professional rant BLOG is this!?

Enjoy the new look,

-(r)averie

Summer is for arts reporting

 

Austra frontwoman Katie Stelmanis live at Lee's Palace!

Hi people,

Here are some links to recent arts coverage I’ve done. Writing this stuff has kept me busy while I wait for my summer job to start in June.

The first was done for a new culture magazine started by a few people in my program called CanCulture. You can check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/444aanv

The second one was for our trusty student newspaper, The Charlatan. You can check it out here: http://tinyurl.com/3cb584b

I have a great advantage being in Toronto this summer. It gives me access to all sorts of arts events, so stay tuned for more artsy coverage throughout the summer!

(In case you didn’t notice, I love arts reporting.)

Read and enjoy!

— (r)averie