Centennial College sports journalism students travel to Rio to cover the 2016 Paralympic Games
A team of 15 students from Centennial College's Sports Journalism post-graduate program will be in Rio de Janeiro when the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games open on September 7 to share the stories of Canada’s Paralympians and contribute content to multiple media outlets in Canada.
In addition, five students have been selected to join the Canadian Paralympic Committee on an internship with its multi-media content team and will work closely with the organization, providing content to Canadian Paralympic Broadcast Consortium platforms including paralympic.ca, cbcsports.ca/paralympics and Facebook Live.
“We’re very pleased with the calibre of the sports journalism students joining our content team for Rio,” said Martin Richard, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing at the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “We are looking forward to supporting them in gaining invaluable professional experience while at the same time leveraging their talents to help us enhance awareness of the Canadian Paralympic Team through unparalleled storytelling across multiple platforms.”
Another group of Centennial students will produce a daily internet television show featuring some of the action at the Paralympics, using the broadcast facilities at Centennial’s Story Arts Centre in East York (visit: www.torontoobserver.ca).
“Our program’s long-time belief in experiential learning has taken an extra step this time with our Paralympics project,” says Sports Journalism program coordinator Malcolm Kelly. “When you bring students out of the classroom and put them in a situation where they cover a real event, it speeds up the learning process tremendously.”
Seasoned journalist and professor Tim Doyle, who runs the journalism programs at Centennial, will accompany the students to Rio, where they will enjoy full access to all of the Paralympic events and facilities. The games run from September 7 to 18.
Kathy Barnes, formerly a senior editor at Sportsnet Connected, along with Canadian Olympic medalist and sports commentator Debbi Wilkes, are producing the online broadcasts from the campus newsroom in Toronto. It will feature highlights of Paralympic events, interviews with athletes, medal ceremonies and features produced by the college students.
The Paralympics, launched in the United Kingdom in 1948 as the Stoke-Mandeville Games, brings together thousands of world-class athletes from around the globe every four years to compete in events ranging from athletics and swimming, to wheelchair basketball and rugby, cycling and more.
Approximately 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries will travel to Rio to compete in 526 Paralympic medal events in 22 different sports. Para-canoe and para-triathlon will be included in the Games for the first time.
“The Paralympic Games are a dynamic sporting event full of compelling stories and one of the things we hope to do is help bring the stories of these Canadian heroes back to their country, and indeed around the world,” Kelly says. “We will be focusing on these athletes as world-class performers in their own right.”
Centennial underwrites the cost of the trip to Rio de Janeiro for its students to ensure no one foregoes the learning opportunity for financial reasons. Centennial College President Ann Buller is also accompanying the students to meet with her education counterparts in Brazil, a rapidly growing source of international students.
Centennial’s unique Sports Journalism post-graduate program delivers an intense year of study that immerses students in the fast-paced sports media industry. Centennial attracts some of the best sports media practitioners to teach in the comprehensive program, which began in 2009. The college offers three other journalism programs: a three-year undergraduate program, a two-year fast-track program and a joint program with the University of Toronto Scarborough.