What began as a fourth-year project for Guelph-Humber students has become an award-winning magazine with spinoffs that include a national awards program and a media conference.

Students enrolled in one of Guelph-Humber’s four media studies streams — journalism, public relations, digital communications and image arts — produce Emerge Magazine. The magazine’s production runs from January to April with students from all four disciplines working together, reflecting the diversity of academic backgrounds in the news industry.

Kathy Ullyott and Eric Leamen accept award for Guelph-Humber Emerge Magazine.
Kathy Ullyott, left, and student Eric Leamen accept an award for Emerge Magazine.

“In media particularly, those traditional silos are coming down,” says Kathy Ullyott, assistant program head, media studies. “Media organizations, whether they’re looking to hire or looking for interns, they want Jacks and Jills of all trades. They want people who can write content, but they also want somebody who can shoot and edit video, and maybe design a website.”

The magazine’s most recent accolades include two “best of show” awards in 2014 from the Associated Collegiate Press and two Gold Crown Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for best print magazine. Earlier this year, the magazine won best hybrid (print and online) publication.

Fourth-year journalism student Samantha Knight was editor-in-chief of Emerge this year. She credits the magazine’s success to the dedication of its students and faculty. “Everyone is in this program because they love it, and it shows,” she says.

Working on the magazine gives students a diverse skill set. “It was the most real-world experience that we could have gained,” says Knight. “We can apply it to anything we do in our future.”

Meaghan Ritola, also a fourth-year journalism student, shared editor-in-chief duties with Knight. “A lot of the students are passionate about it and want to create something successful,” she says of the magazine. She adds that learning how to work together as a team was the most valuable skill she gained from the experience, since most jobs involve working with other people.

This year also marked the launch of the Emerge Media Awards (EMA), a national awards program for college and university students in media studies. “At this point Emerge Magazine had started to win awards but they were all American awards, and we were very proud of them,” says Ullyott. “They’re from really long-standing recognized institutions and organizations in the States, but there is nothing in Canada that was exclusively for students in media studies programs.”

She helped select 31 media professionals to serve as judges. More than 130 students from 22 schools submitted their work in six categories: audio storytelling, digital design, integrated communications, photography, videography and written word.

“I was really overwhelmed by the quality of all the submissions,” says Ullyott. “It was really fantastic to see what work other schools are doing.”

One of this year’s EMA recipients was Matthew Rovet, a third-year digital communications student at Guelph-Humber, whose video essay, Internment, won in the videography category. The video follows Rovet’s friend, Carleton University graduate Saul Hammerschlag, as he tries, unsuccessfully, to find employment in the film industry.

“It’s happened to me,” says Rovet, who worked three consecutive internships. “I’m not the only one. It’s happened to so many people.”

Emerge also hosts an annual spring conference on new media, featuring workshops and guest speakers. “It’s primarily aimed at young professionals who are emerging from university and going out into the world,” says Ullyott.