Between The Lines
Looking at the social implications of journalism through the eyes of journalists
Direct from Washington, the AP’s radio man in the White House spoke of standing in the middle of a business in turmoil. (photo justin giovannetti)
What makes news? How do you add an original angle to a story that’s been told a thousand times? How do you cover a tragedy with humanity?
First there was the Loyola News, the weekly newspaper of Loyola College, which published its first issue in November 1924.
Then there was The Georgian, its monthly counterpart at Sir George Williams University, which printed a Christmas supplement as its first issue in December 1936.
And then, after the merger of SGWU and Loyola College in 1974, the natural progression was to unite both papers into one student paper. Both Loyola News and The Georgian’s staff voted on whether to name it The Accord, The Unison or The Link.
The first issue of hot ink pressed to tabloid paper was printed on Aug. 22, 1980, with the headline “A blending of old and new” plastered across its front page.
“Though the possibilities of a single Concordia newspaper were exciting, it was a scary venture,” The Link’s editorial staff wrote in their first issue. “Never before in the history of Canadian student press had two firmly established and quite distinct newspapers decided to join forces in a single effort […].”
“Basically, it seemed to be an excellent idea at the time. It still is.”
Thirty years of independent journalism
This year, The Link celebrated its 30th anniversary with Between the Lines, a conference hosted in conjunction with the Canadian University Press.
Between the Lines featured The Link alumni, from the critically-acclaimed Andrew McIntosh to local CBC Montreal news producer Paul Gott. It also featured trailblazers, from The Globe and Mail international reporter Gloria Galloway to Linda Kay, a Concordia professor and the first female sports reporter for the Chicago Tribune.
The name Between the Lines alludes to the social implications of journalism. What makes news? How do you add an original angle to a story that’s been told a thousand times? How do you cover a tragedy with humanity?
With a failing corporate media model and a the 24-hour news cycle, journalism today faces a debate about which effective—yet profitable—method is best to distribute information to the public.
At the conference, working journalists and academics led the discussion on how to make news during these stressful times.
“You report what you know and what you can tell incrementally as you go along,” McIntosh said. “I often feel that some of my best work never won awards.”
“We don’t really stress ‘objectivity’ any more,” said Concordia journalism professor Brian Gabrial about fair and accurate reporting.
“This is something that corporate press never does: talk to the general public,” said Dru Oja Jay, editor of The Dominion.
As Concordia’s independent newspaper since 1980, The Link has served the Concordia and Montreal community with in-depth coverage and a long-standing mandate of giving a platform to marginalized people.
When The Georgian first hit newsstands over 70 years ago, it featured a women’s editor and a women’s sports section, which Concordia University Magazine called “rare for its time.”
The Link has kept that progressive spirit alive by printing an array of special issues and by highlighting issues not usually covered by mainstream media.
What matters most to The Link is to tell the stories of what matters most: people.
“I think that, as a journalist, telling stories to other people can change the world,” CBC Radio journalist David Gutnick. “[Journalism] is not a practice, but what it is is a feeling. All you have to do is go to a magazine store and look at the shelves and see what’s looking back at you. It’s people.”
In an age where Canadian media has morphed into an unsustainable model that mimics big enterprise and where conglomerates own the vast majority of media, the independent voice is struggling to reach you: the readers.
The future of journalism is a discussion that we should all be a part of, whether it be through dialogue or by making conscious decisions about where you get your news.
Where do you think it should go?