Emerge on verge of biggest year yet

With a record number of submissions for the Emerge Media Awards and a standout roster of speakers at the Emerge Conference, it looks like both Emerge events are on the verge of a banner year.

In only their third year, the Emerge Media Awards – which celebrate the achievements of journalism, media studies and communications students in Canada – attracted 317 submissions from 32 colleges and universities. When winners are announced at an elegant evening banquet on Monday, April 24, those winners will have stood out in a highly competitive field.

“In essence, we’ve doubled the amount of entrants from last year, and that is very, very exciting,” said Jerry Chomyn, Media Studies Program Head at the University of Guelph-Humber. “We thought that this would be very popular and successful, but it’s moving a little faster than I think we even thought.”

The day after the awards, the Emerge Conference will draw some of journalism’s top minds to University of Guelph-Humber campus for a day of discussion around the timely theme of Media Rehab.

A total of 22 speakers including New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen, author and CBC-Radio host Nora Young, journalist and Atkinson Fellow Catherine Wallace, CBC reporter Stephanie Matteis and Carleton University associate professor Christopher Waddell will discuss issues around trust in the media and fighting the rise of fake news.

That theme came directly from the Media Studies students who work diligently to plan, promote and present the conference.

“It’s reinventing the industry – that’s our tagline,” said Jake Raczywolski, a fourth-year Media Studies student and head of the Emerge Conference’s Marketing and Promotion team. “We’re bringing in industry professionals who can speak on that and how important the media is.”

For the EMAs, a roster of prominent judges are responsible for selecting the winners, including Star Metro Media Editorial Director Sarah Moore, award-winning former CBC journalist Robert Fisher and Toronto Star photojournalist Randy Risling.

“At the ceremonies, all the judges go up and give some instant oral feedback about the work they chose,” Chomyn explained. “Students love getting that feedback.”

Both the EMAs and the Emerge Conference offer chances for students not only to hear from established journalists, but also possibly the opportunity to form connections as well.

“It’s an amazing networking connection event,” Raczywolski said. “You’re coming here talking to industry professionals – who knows where the connections could lead?”

For Raczywolski, who’s in the public relations stream at UofGH, his work on the EMAs and the Emerge Conference has already led somewhere: a possible career path.

“It’s really put me on the path of marketing,” he said. “I realized I loved doing it. That’s what I want to do.”

Learn more about Media Studies at the University of Guelph-Humber.

Learn more about the Emerge Media Awards.

Learn more about the Emerge Conference.