Langara’s Journalism Department, the oldest in western Canada, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. This is being marked by events throughout the year, looking at the past, present, and future of media.
The journalism program’s origins began in the former King Edward High School in 1965, as part of what was then Vancouver City College, with courses in shorthand, industrial cost accounting, use of the camera, and public opinion. It has now evolved to a program at Langara College, where students cover the news with cameras, their iPhones, digital recorders, tweets, blogs, and, very occasionally, drones. Throughout all the change, the department has stayed focused on the core of journalism: finding facts and stories that are important to the public and presenting them in interesting ways.
“The best quality of Langara’s Journalism Department is the way it has maintained that balance between the important, traditional skills of journalism – checking to make sure things are true, for instance – and the sometimes stormy currents of new journalism,” said Frances Bula, Department Chair.
During its 50 years, Langara has produced a list of graduates with accomplishments as diverse as they are impressive. Some are well known to the B.C. public such as National Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason, CKNW radio host Simi Sara, Vancouver Sun columnists Shelley Fralic, Iain MacIntyre and Douglas Todd, and Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher, who appears in newspapers all over the province.
Others have become the local pillars of community life through the leadership at the papers they run: Frank Bucholtz in Langley, Susie Quinn in Port Alberni, Pat Tracy in Burnaby, Richard Dal Monte in the Tri-Cities, Paula Carlson in Surrey, to cite only a few. Carlson was just named editor of the year by the North American Local Media Association.
Some behind-the-scenes grads shape the images of many institutions in the province through their communications skills: ICBC, Vancouver International Airport, the David Suzuki Foundation, Vancouver Coastal and Fraser health authorities, the B.C. Securities Commission, numerous hospitals and hospital foundations.
The department has also produced many lawyers, filmmakers, photographers, designers, public relations entrepreneurs, and book authors. Some have so fully embraced the public-service part of the job that they’ve gone on to become active in political life.
A more comprehensive list of graduates is available on the website.
“For 50 years, the Langara Journalism program has offered aspiring journalists an exceptional and relevant learning experience,” said Julie Longo, Dean of the Faculty of Arts. “This 50th anniversary reunion is a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of our faculty, staff, and students, reconnect with our talented and successful alumni, and dream together about the next 50 years.”
The Langara Journalism 50th Anniversary events include the following:
Journalism: The Next 50 Years – October 23, 2014
To kick off the 50th Anniversary Series this past fall, the department hosted a panel of some of the city’s key media leaders look at where journalism – the craft, the industry, the democratic force – is headed in the future. Moderated by Journalism Department Chair Frances Bula, the panel included: Jane Armstrong, Editor-in-Chief, The Tyee; Alison Broddle, Executive Producer, News, CBC/Radio-Canada; Gary Mason, National Affairs Columnist, The Globe and Mail; Harold Munro, Editor-in-Chief, The Vancouver Sun; Simi Sara, Host of The Simi Sara Show, CKNW.
Langara Journalism presents Toronto Star investigative reporter Kevin Donovan – May 14, 2015
Kevin Donovan is one of Canada’s best investigative reporters. A 30-year veteran of the Toronto Star, Donovan’s dogged work broke two major national stories in the last two years: the allegations of sexual assault by CBC host Jian Ghomeshi and the drug problems of former Toronto mayor Rob Ford. Donovan is speaking on May 14 at the Orpheum Annex, a new theatre space in Vancouver. Attendees are invited to arrive any time after 6 for socializing and drinks, which can be taken into the theatre when the talk starts at 7. There will also be time to do more of the same afterwards. Tickets online via Eventbrite.
Langara Journalism 50th Anniversary Celebration – May 15, 2015
Around 1,000 people have graduated from Langara’s Journalism program since the first student enrolled in 1965. Five decades of graduates, almost graduates, instructors, and board members will gather on May 15 for an evening of speeches, music, refreshments, and entertainment throughout the evening. We look forward to reconnecting with our alumni and former colleagues from both near and as far as Texas, London, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi. Tickets and registration online via Eventbrite.