Published on February 10, 2016 | by Christopher Coletta Photography by Christopher Coletta0
Ironically job cuts may lead to opportunities for students
Major media outlets have made thousands of job cuts within the last couple months leaving the University of Guelph-Humber media studies students worried.
“It’s a scary feeling knowing without an internship I can’t graduate, and it doesn’t look like anyone’s looking to hire now,” Guelph-Humber student Jacqueline Gibson said after hearing Rogers Media, Bell Media, Torstar and Postmedia Network Inc. were cutting positions.
All fourth-year media studies students must participate in a 240-hour internship in order to gain practical experience and to help build a network of contacts.
However, despite students’ fears, assistant vice-provost and head of business at Guelph-Humber Dr. George Bragues stays positive. In fact, he said there might be more opportunities for students especially those looking for internships.
Bragues said the main reason behind the decline in media jobs is due to a lack of ad revenue specifically in print.
“The industry has always been constantly shifting,” he said. “There’s been a major impact on print, but online has been doing very well.”
He said it’s not so much about how much experience you have anymore—it’s what students can bring to the table.
“The people who are managing these companies, they’re from a different generation,” Bragues said. “They may not fully understand the new technologies and they’ll be looking for young people to come in and spend some time with them to train. In that sense, this is an opportunity.”
Guelph-Humber’s head of media Jerry Chomyn agreed. “A lot of people refer to this as the information age,” he said. “I think they’re going to look at it as the digital age.”
Chomyn said he believes Guelph-Humber students should broaden their skills in all four streams of media—journalism, public relations, digital communications and image arts—to embrace this change to digital media.
In order to practice that idea, Chomyn allows Guelph-Humber media studies students to intern in any media stream offered no matter which stream they specifically studied.
“If it’s anything to do with media, it qualifies,” Chomyn said.
With job losses, Bragues said companies are in more need than ever to have interns, specifically unpaid ones.
“Internships have the advantage that if they’re not paid then the economical difficulties don’t really sway their decision,” Bragues said.
Rebecca Gilchrist, a Guelph-Humber media studies graduate, is currently job-hunting since leaving her internship at Hooked on Hockey Magazine in June 2014. She said she finds internships to be easier to land than an actual job especially with the recent cuts.
“Print is dying, but online is thriving.” she said. “With more companies cutting jobs, the more internships that are going to be available.”
Bragues said his best advice to Guelph-Humber media studies students would be to avoid letting the news dissuade you into thinking this is the end of journalism—it’s not.
“We’re in a state of flux, but a new model will emerge, the demand is there and it favours young people,” Bragues said.
Chomyn advises students who wish to apply for summer internships to send their resumes to organizations by the end of February.