After four years of being involved with the Wilfrid Laurier University newspaper, The Cord, I am officially leaving to enter “The Real World.” When I look back on my undergrad, I think of all of the opportunities I had to write a story that was not only worth reading, but would also reach out to someone. That, to me, is the sole purpose of journalism.
Because I am so nostalgic (and shamefully self-promoiting myself), these are my top 10 stories that I have written during my time at The Cord. These are the stories that I am most proud of.
- Bulimia: factor of chemistry, not character: No other article I write in my future journalistic career will make me feel as proud as this one. I wrote this article during Eating Disorder Awareness week and it was the first time I had acknowledged my own struggles with bulimia to both my peers and family. This article was a marriage between personal and investigative. I had made myself incredibly vulnerable for this article and challenged myself to go outside of my comfort zone. And it really did pay off – I won Story of the Year.
- Is sex worth the risk?: This feature really opened up my eyes to a troubling reality in terms of birth control, or the lack thereof. This feature was based off a report that said 50% of university students were sexually active and opting out of using birth control. Not only was this a troubling reality in and of itself, a personal account helped to inform me and my readers what can happen when you aren’t educated about birth control methods. After interviewing her about her personal experiences, I am hesitant about how the Plan B pill will actually harm the body if used too many times!
- How easy is it to steal a laptop on campus?: I am of the opinion that not all investigative articles have to be “boring” – they can actually be fun and experimental! With our video team, I went around the WLU campus “stealing” my friend’s laptop to see who bystanders would react. It generated a lot of funny reactions from people, as well as brought more of an online presence to our website. It was also pretty funny to walk on campus and have people hide away their laptops because I had become known as “the laptop stealing girl!”
- Fitting the Olympic Mould: When I was considering applying to be the Features Editor in my junior year, I had wanted to write a feature to see if I could handle the job. And this feature really sealed the deal for me. Written during the hype of the winter Olympics, I interviewed my cousin, Adrianne Dunnett-Yeates, who competed in the 1984 Olympics for Rhythmic gymnastics. I also interviewed one of my close friends, Ryan Bailey, who had been involved in competitive sports with the intent of going to the Olympics. This was one of those instances where a story just fell together perfectly.
- The age of online activism: The Internet is taking over, and it’s beginning to merge with activism. I decided to take online activism one step further and investigate the concern of “slacktivism” and if online activism will really help to make a difference beyond the computer screen. This was my final feature as the Features Editor and it was a very bittersweet experience for me, but it was also incredibly memorable and special to me.
- ‘I didn’t care anymore’: Every time I write an article regarding mental illness, I really feel that I am helping to end the stigma, as many people often feel that they are alone. I had interviewed WLU’s former Student’s Union president, Michael Onabolu, about his experiences with depression while he was in university. Before I had interviewed him, I had been feeling upset about some irrelevant things in my life, and talking to him really gave me perspective.
- Hindered healing: This was one of my heavier features, not just in terms of word count, but also in terms of content. I looked at how grief affects students who are currently in university, as it is a period in one’s life where loss can really be detrimental. The interviews I did were powerful and the poignancy really reflected in the article.
- A ‘constant and ongoing process’:In light of Queer Awareness week, I had interviewed WLU’s student’s union president, Sam Lampert, about his coming to terms with his sexuality and a trans student. This is a topic that still needs to be talked about, and not in terms of air being a taboo. I really learned a lot about the evolution of language and how the coming out process really impacts those who are struggling with their own sexuality.
- Afiya Francisco of LOULOU Magazine: Afiya Francisco, who is the former Editor-in-Chief of LOULOU Magazine and the Co-founder of The Style House, is exactly who I want to be when I grow up. I would be thrilled if I could mould myself into her, so being able to interview her was one of the most incredible experiences of my career.
- Trudeau announces leadership bid: This is one of my earlier articles. Reading it now, I would probably write it so differently, but this article really helped me to develop my skills as a journalist, especially when it came to news writing. I have a stark interest in Justin Trudeau, so it was incredible being able to break the news on his announcement that he announced his leadership bid.