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Category Archives: Pioneer

Well, our last week at the Pioneer was wrapped up on Thursday, but there was an interesting twist to this last week: I got to be the photo editor.

Now, being the photo editor is a big responsibility; one that I was definitely wasn’t expecting. But with our crack team, made up of our editor, and the teachers of both the photojournalism program, and the journalism/online/print/broadcast program, we pulled through, and got two editions of the Pioneer together!

And here they are: Tuesday‘s paper, and Thursday‘s.

Hope you enjoy!

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As you saw earlier dear readers, the Pioneer’s first edition (by the photojournalism second year class) went swimmingly. As did the second edition, that can be found here.

I must say, it was more challenging than I thought it would be. I mean, sure, writing a story for class is easy; you have weeks to work on it, and plenty of time if things fall through.

The Pioneer affords you no such luxury. Things need to be written yesterday. And shot yesterday. And edited yesterday.

But somehow, I managed to pull together two stories and two photos for the paper. Neither of the photos were used because of the layout, but I figured I should post them here, along with the links to the papers they would have been.

And the subsequent section B editions went off swimmingly as well (find it here). There is also an In Focus section on the QNet News site, with each page linked as an individual. They are definitely worth checking out.

So, before I get into the really deep and heavy stuff,

For the first story I wrote about the leaky residence buildings:

And the second about the Sleep Out So Others Can Sleep In:

And then things got bad. Section A had just got back into classes. I had been confirmed for an internship, and for a while there, everything was going great. Then I got a phone call. Now, I don’t often get phone calls. They tend to be bad news if they aren’t interview related, and this was much later in the day, so I had my doubts that it was a source calling me back.

It was my dad was calling to tell me that my Gramp had passed away in the hospital from a stroke, and that I should focus on school, and not take the 24 hour train it would require to get home for the funeral on Friday. I know it must have been one of the hardest phone calls he would ever have to make.

Arthur Organ Sanford

And I tried to focus. I really did. After hanging up, Tiffany,  my good friend, roommate, and classmate, came down stairs to find me collapsed on the bathroom floor, making some very worrying sounds. She immediately did what all good friends do, which was to pump me full of junk food, and movies, and as many hugs and tissues as I needed.

The next day, I tried to go to school. We had Staff Class at eight am where we get an assignment that has to be handed in that day.

As I walked up the hallway, it hit me that I would have to explain why my eyes and nose were so red, and why I had a bundle of tissues in my pockets. I tried to practice saying “My grandfather died yesterday. He had a stroke,” in my head, but every time I did, more and more tears would leak out. But I walked into that classroom, and Tiffany translated for me because all I could manage to get out was a squeak.

I sat in the back of the class, and started to take notes.

We were asked to shoot lifelong friends.

Then our teacher told us a story about an older couple who were shot last year, while the woman was pushing the man in a wheel chair across some railroad tracks.

That’s when I really broke down.

Class was dismissed. I went out in the hallway, and started trying to find a subject despite my tears. I didn’t know if I could shoot it, but I was going to try. Tiffany went to talk to my teacher, and explained what had happened.

And being one of the amazing staff members of Loyalist College, he told me to go home, and not bother with the assignment. He also started looking into the school’s policy on financial aid for bereavement trips.

Thanks to him, that very day, I got a petty cash loan from the school to pay for my ticket.

The only thing left to do, was to try to convince my father that I needed to get on that train. And I did, with a little help from my Grandmother, who said she would like to have me there.

So on Wednesday afternoon, I got on the train, knowing full well that I would only get to see my family for a maximum of two days before heading back to Belleville to face the rest of the year alone.

But let me tell you something: it was worth it.

If you’ve ever lost someone, you know that the funeral can be a blessing, and a curse.

I lost my aunt during my first semester at Loyalist, and I didn’t go to the funeral. Until this Christmas, I didn’t really believe she was dead. Then I visited her gravesite.

Seeing your loved ones laid to rest may be hard, but being with the ones you love makes it that little bit easier, because you know without a doubt, and to the very depths of your soul that there are other people going through the same thing as you.

That, and having an adorable little cousin running around helps too.

Getting back on that train wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Now, don’t get me wrong; it was still hard. It just wasn’t as heart breaking as last time. And I think my dad explained it best. This time, we knew it wouldn’t be that long until I saw them again. It’s only until April.

So I got back on Sunday, and Monday I was back to the Pioneer again, and the Tuesday and Thursday editions came out as they always do. I managed to write another news story. It didn’t get a picture, but that’s okay. The pictures will come. And I did submit a feature, which is something that I’ve struggled with for a long time. I’ve always found them kind of tricky, but this one came easily. And I’d like to think it’s just the first step on the long road of making my family proud.

Well, that was an interesting week. The Photo j’s of Loyalist were back in class, and figuring out the cycle this semester. Because of course, we are starting at the Pioneer.

Now, for those who aren’t in the know yet, the Pioneer is the digital paper at Loyalist. It used to be in print, but now we work on a PDF version, and make prints of the pages to put up on the bulletin board in the 1N hallway.

My section is first up on the Pioneer, which comes out on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we had our first real day in the newsroom last Friday.

I have one story in each of the editions. I’ve written one, am waiting on a photo, and I also have to correct my story once I get it back from proof reading. And of course leave enough time for layout and proofing/rewrites before it goes online Tuesday.

Not nerve racking in the least.

I have another story to work on, but so many interviews are just waiting to be done, and a photo opportunity tomorrow morning.

This isn’t the first time I’ve worked on the Pioneer; when I jumped into a frozen river for charity last year, I took “immersion journalism” to the next level, and got my story published on the second page. I didn’t get the picture, but I think it’s pretty obvious why.

Seems to me it’s gotten harder since then.

If you want to check out all the other content the media students produce here at Loyalist, check out Q-Net News.