For 46 years we served the East York community. Just a bunch of students with drive and ambition, wanting to be a part of something great. And great we were.
The East York Observer was an award-winning newspaper recognized as one of the best student-run papers in Toronto.
Aspiring journalist is what I called myself. That was on the first day of classes, three semesters ago at Centennial College Story Arts Centre. But according to Tim Doyle, the program coordinator and, of course, a journalist, I was wrong. I wasn’t aspiring. I was already was a journalist. This was just my training to become a better one.
See, here at Centennial, my fellow classmates and I thought our transition from university to college would be the same. We thought we’d spend our days in lectures and our nights poring over research papers. We were wrong.
Instead, we spent our days chasing breaking news stories alongside reporters from other reputable news outlets, such as CBC and CityNews. And at night, we learned the difference between writing academic papers and news articles. (I’ll give you a hint: a good lede, all of the facts, and none of the fluff.)
Some of us were more timid and worried that perhaps we weren’t the best storytellers and wouldn’t do a piece the justice it deserved. Others had that journalistic instinct from the beginning, running toward the fires most of us would run from and getting up close and personal with the people who study serial killers.
But no matter where you started as a student at the Story Arts Centre, the instructors believed in every one of us and worked tirelessly to ensure that, when this day came, we would all be well-rounded, employable journalists.
And for that I want to say thank you. Thank you for being patient and guiding us as we navigated the borders of East York, chasing crime stories and finding feel-good moments.
Thank you for giving us a space to hone our storytelling and fact-checking skills. Thank you for seeing our potential and believing that each batch of students was just as capable as the last of producing a stellar paper.
But it wouldn’t be so stellar without our readers. So thank you for opening your events and homes and businesses to us; for allowing us to tell your stories and sharing our paper with your families week after week for 46 years. You’ve played a vital role in giving us the confidence to call ourselves journalists. As colleague Bobby Hristova says, for almost five decades, The East York Observer served as a journal for this community.
Now it’s time to say a bittersweet goodbye. We’re grateful, as many of us are moving on to internships and jobs where we get to continue doing what we love. But we’re also tearful, because there’s a whole generation of students who will never experience the joy of designing pages, having their story make the front page, or watching the papers get picked up for delivery to our readers.
The legacy of The East York Observer will live on in the hearts of the many reporters who came before us and those who come after. And even though our print publication is no more, you’ll still be able to read some East York coverage on the Toronto Observer website at torontoobserver.ca. And you can always look through our digital archives of print issues past.