For 70 years, the Ryersonian has covered our campus community: the people who study, work and teach here and others in the neighbourhood.
Starting this September, the way the Ryersonian reaches its audience will change. The newsroom will become a “digital-first” operation, with students being given more time and resources to produce multi-platform packages for our website, Ryersonian.ca. Students will also produce a monthly full-length TV broadcast and a weekly podcast. The Ryersonian newspaper will be published three times each semester.
“We still believe in the power of print to tell stories. We still have an affinity for print at a time when many journalism schools—from Carleton University to Sacramento State—have stopped printing their newspapers to go digital only,” said Peter Bakogeorge, Ryersonian instructor. “Our audience will find expanded coverage of news stories first reported online as well as longer-form stories about the people and issues engaging our on-campus and off-campus communities.”
For most of its history, the only way people could access the Ryersonian was via the weekly newspaper. However, 10 years ago the School decided to converge all the platforms, rolling all the streams (TV, online and the weekly print newspaper) into one integrated newsroom. Students were expected to do it all—and then more—as podcasting and social media became more prominent.
Though the Ryersonian began calling itself a “digital-first” newsroom, asking students to produce online, audio, video and social media content and then lay out and produce a newspaper every Wednesday meant that sometimes the other mediums came first. That meant that, at times, the newsroom’s focus was “digital-last.”
Earlier this year, RSJ staff and faculty were asked: “If we were starting a newsroom for our senior students today, what would it look like?”
Based on those discussions, the Ryersonian decided to go where its audience is, refocusing student efforts to newsgathering and publication for the online community.
“The changes coming to our newsroom will give our students even more opportunities to do what they have always done well, which is to tell the story of Ryerson and the Toronto Centre community,” said Bakogeorge. “I’m confident they will embrace doing more breaking news and more in-depth storytelling.”
Students will have more time to report breaking news. They will produce stories quickly for audiences to find first on social media, then enhance and develop them with audio, video, visuals, infographics and text. The Ryersonian.ca site and @theryersonian will be more lively and robust and the destination for our community members who want the breaking news from campus and off-campus.
The changes will provide our students with an enriched newsroom experience, allowing them to use more tools to tell exceptional stories. The expanded coverage of our community—the neighbourhoods around our downtown campus—which we began in the past couple of years, will continue.
“We’re excited about the opportunities to innovate, producing news and telling stories across all our platforms and giving final-year students real-world, professional experience,” said RSJ Chair, Janice Neil.