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UofGH Media Studies alum named to Canadian Press-Facebook News Fellowship

When University of Guelph-Humber Media Studies alumna Danielle Edwards originally applied for the Facebook-Canadian Press News Fellowship – a one-year, $1 million program established to support journalists covering pressing issues in local communities across Canada – she didn’t necessarily have high hopes.

After all, only eight such fellowships were being awarded and more than 1,000 people applied. Further, she knew that the pandemic had rendered journalism positions like this one more coveted than ever. Even though Edwards had completed internships at the National Post and The Globe & Mail, she applied assuming she probably wasn’t going to get the job.

She was wrong. Edwards recently moved to Halifax to begin her one-year appointment with The Canadian Press, a national wire service with a 100-plus-year history as one of Canada’s top news sources.

“I was shocked,” Edwards said. “Considering they had more than 1,000 applicants, it’s really incredible that I got picked out of so many people, out of such a talented pool of journalists in Canada.”

Finding her niche

Edwards applied to the University of Guelph-Humber not knowing journalism would end up being her area of specialty.

She simply knew she loved media. A voracious reader growing up, Edwards always loved English class, and found herself thriving as a high-schooler in design, photography and communications courses as well. When she researched UofGH’s Media Studies program, she liked the fact that she would have the opportunity to cultivate all of those interests at once.

“I loved the dual diploma and degree benefit, and I loved that there’s such a wide array of things you get to learn,” she recalled. “You get photography, web design, graphic design. I saw that and I thought it would be good – I could explore my love of media and maybe find some direction as to where I feel like I would fit and where I should go.”

That’s exactly what happened. Edwards found that it was her journalism courses she loved most. She loved gathering information and sources, interviewing people, and, of course, writing.

“It was at UofGH where I realized I loved writing and that I had an interest in journalism,” she said.

And she’s still thankful that she chose an undergraduate program that allowed her to become a more well-rounded reporter and journalist.

“I took with me an appreciation of being multi-skilled,” said Edwards, who was born in Trinidad and moved to Toronto when she was four. “In spite of whatever route you might take, it is always good to have other skills in your back pocket, like graphic design, video editing and audio editing. It really puts you a cut above the rest when you can say that you’re well-versed with using Final Cut or Photoshop or Premiere Pro or the entire Adobe suite, or that you can film things and record audio and can design and that you’re good at photography.

“It’s always good thing to have a few extra skills in your back pocket.”

A big challenge

As a Reporter-Editor at The Canadian Press, Edwards will be covering a wide variety of local Halifax news. She’s used to handling a diverse array of assignments. Looking back, one story she’s proud of occurred during a short two-week internship at CP’s Ottawa bureau while she was pursuing her Master’s degree in Journalism from Carleton University. She wrote a story about the auditor general not having enough money to do her job, an issue that had not previously been given any attention.

The quick pace of her job is something that appeals to Edwards. For the same reason, one of her fondest memories of her time as UofGH was also one of the most hectic: when she served as co-Editor in Chief of the Emerge print magazine while simultaneously working her field placement at Bell Media.

“It was hectic but I really enjoyed getting to experience all facets of producing a publication,” recalled Edwards, who presided over the 2017 issue of Emerge. “You oversee the writers, the graphic designers, and the photographers, and you’re making sure everyone’s on schedule. It’s fast-paced and involves long nights, but it definitely sticks out in my memory.

“The experience definitely helped solidify in my mind that the journalism route was right for me,” she added. “My time at UofGH was the turning point for me in terms of figuring out what I wanted to do with my career and what I wanted my career to look like.”

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