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Emerge Magazine

Strengthening Creative Writing Skills While Networking

Emerge Media Awards internship enables passionate young journalist to contact and interview big names in the business

I have always had a passion for journalism ever since I was 12 years old. Every night during dinner, my parents and I would sit around the table and watch the 6 p.m. newscast. In high school, I woke up bright and early at 5:30 a.m. just to watch the morning news! My dream is to either anchor a local newscast, a national political newscast like CBC’s Power and Politics or a national newscast on American cable television.

As an intern for the 2021 Emerge Media Awards (EMAs) at the University of Guelph-Humber, I got to move a few steps closer to my dream while earning my requisite internship credit. Guelph-Humber students are required to do a 240-hour internship in their fourth year, and I spent those hours flexing my creative writing skills by writing blogs aimed towards EMA readers, judges and post-secondary media students from across Canada who submit best examples of their work. The Emerge Media Awards recognize and celebrate the best Canadian and college writing, editing, audio storytelling, videography, graphic design, marketing and public relations work.

The famous GH staircase and plant wall

Photo Credit: Matthew Chong

This year’s finalists come from colleges and universities that include the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver; Mount Royal University in Calgary; MacEwan University in Edmonton; the University of Regina; Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ont.; Fanshawe College in London, Ont.; McMaster University and Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont.; Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.; the University of Toronto, Ryerson University, University of Guelph-Humber, Humber College and Centennial College in Toronto; Loyalist College in Belleville, Ont.; Carleton University in Ottawa; the University of King’s College and NSCAD University in Halifax.

As a Media Studies student with journalism as my area of emphasis, I wanted to find an internship position that would let me work on my Canadian Press writing skills. I had previously written news articles for GH360, Guelph-Humber’s student publication, where in third year I had the provincial politics beat. My EMA internship accomplished that goal. This opportunity gave me the chance to strengthen my interviewing and communication skills, because being a future reporter will mean that I would be talking to all kinds of interesting people. In my EMA role, I got to do exactly that: contacting and interviewing a number of the judges for this year’s awards including Ryerson journalism professor Adrian Ma and freelance/international conflict photographer Louie Palu.

One of the most satisfying things I did during my time as an EMA intern was when my fellow intern and I created the Survey Monkey sheets for the judges to vote on the competition’s submissions. Each category had between 10 to 30 entries and it took us about two to three days to complete the work. I worked until 2 a.m. to finish the survey sheets in order to meet the deadline. Looking back, it was fascinating seeing all of the creative, talented and dedicated work that students in all aspects of contemporary media put into their submissions.

My advice for aspiring young journalists looking for internship experience? Make connections early, whether that’s with your professors, your classmates or even anyone currently working in the industry. Keep an open mind about different opportunities that can provide a range of interviewing, reporting and editing experience. Also, no matter what internship you want or what you aspire to be or do after graduation, make sure you make the most of your media education by reading the news and staying up-to-date and informed about what is happening around you and the world.

 

Matthew Chong is the co-anchor and executive producer for EMERGE News NOW. Before his current role, Matthew covered some of the biggest political stories in Ontario with GH360 - including the Ontario secondary school teachers’ strike, the new Finch West LRT connecting Humber College’s north campus to Finch West subway station and the effect that the pandemic had on essential grocery store workers. Before GH360, Matthew was the co-anchor for GHTV News. He was named one of the University of Guelph-Humber’s nominees for the 2021 Joan Donaldson Scholarship. When Matthew isn't reporting, you'll find him in the pool swimming laps, in line at Starbucks ordering an iced chai tea latte with soy or catching up on the latest episode of "The Good Doctor." Matthew grew up in Vancouver and now calls Toronto home. You can follow him on Instagram @immattchong.

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