DAILY NEWS Oct 2, 2024 11:27 AM - 0 comments

Ryerson Journalism School Celebrates 60th Anniversary

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    The Ryerson School of Journalism will roll out the red carpet to welcome home notable alumni as part of its 60th anniversary celebrations this weekend.

    Celebrating 60 years of excellence in journalism education, the school will host two separate events, in recognition of the leading journalists who have passed through its doors.

    Journalism on the Rocks, an evening reception on Oct. 4, will honour 12 of the school’s notable alumni - two for each decade - by naming them School of Journalism Headliners. This year’s inaugural group of Headliners:

    Ernest Tucker

    , class of ’54 –Tucker has covered a wide range of historical events, including the release of James Cross by the FLQ in December 1970. Tucker’s work in Toronto began at the Toronto Telegram in the 1950s. In 1961, he edited The West Indian Reporter. Ryerson University’s first graduate of colour, Tucker worked as a reporter for the CBC, both in Toronto and Montreal, for 34 years and taught at John Abbott College in Montreal for 36 years.

    Don Obe

    , class of ’59 – A former chair and professor emeritus of magazine journalism at the Ryerson School of Journalism, Obe’s career has included time as editor-in-chief at The Canadian and Toronto Life magazines. He is the recipient of a gold medal in National Magazine Awards for ethical writing and in 1993 was awarded the industry’s highest honour, the National Magazine Award for Outstanding Achievement.

    Maggie Siggins

    , class of ’65 - A journalist, author and filmmaker, Siggins is the author of 14 books including

    Revenge of the Land

    (1991), which won a Governor General’s Award for non-fiction. Siggins has also written-produced more than 30 documentaries, including the multi-award winning

    Silent Bombs

    (2009), for her company, Four Square Entertainment, which is based in Toronto and Regina.

    Jim Sheppard

    , class of ’71 – Sheppard has been a reporter, editor, foreign correspondent, digital journalism pioneer, manager and supervisor of newsrooms from Saskatoon to Moscow. During his time as London correspondent for the Canadian Press, Sheppard covered the events that led to the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev and the breakup of the Soviet Union. One of the first senior journalists to recognize the emergence of the Internet and digital journalism in the mid 90s, Sheppard continues to work solely in that field.

    Kevin Tibbles

    , class of ’79 – Tibbles’ career has taken him across the globe, reporting from war zones in Iraq, Bosnia and Afghanistan and covering breaking news from the funeral of Princess Diana to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in New Orleans. Currently an NBC correspondent and regular contributor to

    NBC Nightly News

    with Brian Williams,




    , Tibbles has received the Overseas Press Club Award and the National Headliner Award and been honoured by the National Association of Black Journalists.

    Randy Starkman

    - Dedicated to amateur sports throughout his career at The Toronto Star, Starkman was known as a leading journalist and beloved and trusted colleague. During his rich and productive career, Starkman received two national newspaper awards, covered 12 Olympic Games and made countless scoops, including one world-wide exclusive, in exposing Ben Johnson's second positive steroid test in 1993. Starkman died in April 2024.

    Shelley Ambrose

    , class of ’87 – Currently the executive director of the Walrus Foundation and co-publisher of the Walrus Magazine, Ambrose has worked as a reporter for The Globe and Mail and Windsor Star, and produced CBC’s Morningside with Peter Gzowski for more than a decade. She is a founder of the Lakefield Literary Festival and is the recipient of the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.

    Zarqa Nawaz

    , class of ’92 – Creator of the award-winning

    Little Mosque on the Prairie

    , CBC’s highest-rated sitcom, Nawaz’s work has ushered in a new era of Canadian television. She continues to write comedy plots and has written four comedy short films, all of which have aired on the CBC and two of which,

    BBQ Muslims

    (1996) and

    Death Threat

    (1998), have been shown at the Toronto International Film Festival.

    Michelle Shephard

    , class of ’96 – A three-time recipient of the National Newspaper Awards, Shephard is currently the Toronto Star’s national security correspondent. She is also the author of

    Decade of Fear: Reporting from Terrorism’s Grey Zone

    (2011) and

    Guantanamo’s Child

    (2008). Shephard is currently co-directing and producing two feature-length documentaries and was associate producer on the Oscar-nominated

    Under Fire: Journalists in Combat


    Kenny Yum

    , class of ’98 – A digital journalist, Yum has worked for numerous national news sites as editor, manager and strategist. Yum helped launch The Globe and Mail’s website in 2024 and served as the site’s managing editor and editor from 2024 to 2024. He helped spearhead the relaunch of The Financial Post and National Post’s digital properties in 2024. Yum currently serves as the managing editor of Huffington Post Canada and AOL.ca.

    Robyn Doolittle

    , class of ’06 – Currently a municipal politics reporter at The Toronto Star, Doolittle has covered the Ford administration extensively and is at work on her first book, a political biography of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his family. In her previous role as police reporter at the Toronto Star, Doolittle covered the Conrad Black trial in Chicago and the G20 summit in Toronto.

    Gagandeep Ghuman

    , class of ’08 – Following through on his commitment to covering local news in Canada, Ghuman moved to Squamish, British Columbia, following graduation. There, he began a local news blog, The Squamish Reporter, reporting on civic issues. It has grown into a monthly print magazine, focusing on civic, investigative and public service journalism. Ghuman’s work has placed him on the shortlist for a Canadian Association of Journalists award two years running.

    The celebration weekend will continue Saturday, Oct. 5, with a full day of panel sessions at the Rogers Communications Centre, led by notable journalism alumni. Journalism: How it’s Done, Where it’s Headed will explore topics including new technologies and business practices, and the life of a working journalist, including the prevalence and use of social media.

    Featured panelists include: senior editors Glenn Garnett of Sun Media and David Skok of Global News; producer Mary Nersessian of CTV and video journalist Waubgeshig Rice of CBC; columnists Heather Mallick of the Toronto Star and Elizabeth Renzetti of The Globe and Mail; and independent health journalist, Julia Belluz. All the panelists are alumni of the school, and the panels are free and open to the public.

    Ryerson University

    is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 28,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past five years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education.

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