It's been said that students will turn out when you offer them free food. But this week, food is what landed a group of my senior students from the University of Toronto Scarborough's Joint program in Journalism, an award from the Independent Publishers Association of Ontario.
The IPAO has been supporting the final year's magazine production class for the past two years, and each year, its celebrity judges review all the magazines and pick the winning entry.
Back Row: Ellin Bessner, Barry Finn IPAO
Tevy Pilc, Katrina Rozal, Maxx Smith (absent Lauren Hummel)
The winner is decided based on content, layout, and the website and multimedia side, as well as whether the prototype first issue has "legs" as a real magazine, should the students choose to turn their school-based project into self-employment after they graduate.
The students magazines are conceived, written, laid out, and produced completely by the students.
This year, the winners were CHOMP magazine -- Katrina Rozal, Tevy Pilc, Maxx Smith, and Lauren Hummel. They wowed the publishers with their slick CHOMP cover, and articles devoted to the politics of food. The target audience is students in university and college, but CHOMP is a lot more then a recipe rag. They delve into controversial issues such as how universities have had to open food banks to help students survive the recession. How young people are helping the city of Toronto develop a healthy and sustainable food policy. Other issues include the conviction kitchen TV show with chef Marc Thuet, who hires convicts to work in his restaurant and gives them a second chance. And why some campuses offer just junk food, while at U of T, and York, healthy food choices are making inroads amongst the Tim Hortons outlets and Pizza Pizza counters. There are even articles about food and dating, food allergies, being a vegan for 18 hours, and how one Queen's student took on the residence meal plan to win a kosher food option.
The students were invited to the March IPAO event to show off their publication, answer questions about how they did it, and to make valuable contacts for their futures. I was invited, too, and sat there, beaming, as publisher after publisher complimented the winners and also suggested how they could make their magazine even better.
Many thanks to Barry Finn, IPAO president, and Michael Brooke, Concrete Wave publisher, who taught the students how to drill down from beach balls to ball bearings. Also to Becky Brown of TheMagazine and Paul Grossinger of Friday Night, for being celebrity judges.
To see all the magazines in this program, click to the college's Ondemand.centennialcollege.ca website.