“It is a reality of the journalism profession that what is news one minute is old the next. That is to be our fate as well. Soon we too will be ‘old news.’”
Those are the words Bill Radunsky, co-ordinator of Cambrian College's journalism program, wrote in the final edition of the Cambrian Shield.
As of next week, the student publication's website will be pulled down. The Shield's final magazine edition has already been distributed.
The publication is being wound down because Cambrian's journalism program was suspended last year.
The college's president, Sylvia Barnard, told Northern Life last year there's a lack of interest in the program, and graduates just aren't getting jobs.
Those enrolled in journalism when the college made the decision were allowed to finish the program. The program's last class are graduating this spring.
While students are heading out to various media organizations, including Northern Life, for six-week placements starting next week, this past week marked the last week of journalism classes at Cambrian.
Radunsky said it's been an emotional time.
“I've gotten a little bit more attached than normal to the students I have right now, knowing they're the last journalism students I'll have. It's kind of been a bit harder seeing them go.”
He said he leaves his post with some regret. “I hate to see it go under my watch. I guess maybe there's a tinge of guilt there.”
Radunsky said the thing that concerns him most is what the program's suspension, along with the general trend towards newsroom cuts, says about modern journalism.
He wonders if the pursuit of truth — the definition of journalism — is being undervalued by society.
Cambrian's journalism program was also the last in Northern Ontario, which also gives him pause.
“Are we going to lose our best and brightest to the colleges and universities down south, and who are we going to get coming back?” he asks. “You tend to want to almost get a job where you get your education, it seems.”
Many journalists working in Greater Sudbury and northeastern Ontario, including several members of Northern Life's editorial staff, are graduates of the program.
“I'm proud of what we've done,” Radunsky said. “I believe there's a lot of good journalists out there. I'm hopeful that's partly because of what we did for them here.”
Radunsky has been teaching in Cambrian's journalism program for 23 years, and has been the program's co-ordinator for the vast majority of that time.
Before going to work at Cambrian, he was a reporter and editor at daily newspapers in various Ontario cities, including in North Bay.
Now that the journalism program has wrapped up, he said he plans to teach English courses at Cambrian for at least the next few years, and is also looking into what kind of writing and journalism opportunities he can pursue.
Kevin McMurray, who will graduate from the program this spring, has spent the last few days helping Radunsky clean out the Cambrian Shield office.
While he said it's been interesting for him to see the work of past students, McMurray said the task also makes him sad.
“I feel the program was very essential, especially being in the Northern Ontario area,” he said.
“Just to be able to have a group that can go after the truth and get the facts, it's very important to have that in our country. To lose that in Northern Ontario is a bit disconcerting.”
McMurray said he's also concerned about all the students who won't have a chance to study journalism at Cambrian.
He said a friend of his had been interested in entering the program, and was disappointed to learn about its suspension last year.
“He'll have to find another school to go to for the field.”
Northern Life lifestyle and entertainment reporter Jenny Jelen graduated from the program in 2010. She said having Radunsky as a teacher, along with the other instructors in the program, was a great experience for her.
“I really felt (Radunsky) taught us all the things that mattered to go out and be successful at what we do,” Jelen said.
She said one of her favourite quotes from Radunsky is “there's no boring stories, just boring reporters.”
The program's suspension is a huge loss for aspiring journalists in the region, Jelen said.
Those who would like to read the Cambrian Shield before its website is pulled down can visit www.cambrianshield.com.