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KPU School of Journalism: Testimonials from Grads

Recent graduates of KPU’s Journalism School work for some of the top news outlets across Canada and around the world, including The Vancouver Sun, The Globe and Mail and MSNBC. Below, those grads share what they learned during their time at KPU and how it helped prepare them for their exciting jobs in journalism and public relations.


Andrea Woo    Andrea Woo action shot
Andrea Woo (Class of 2006) | @AndreaWoo
Reporter, The Globe and Mail

Andrea’s work at The Globe and Mail has included stories on Amanda Todd’s suicide and Stanley Cup riot. In 2016, Andrea won a Jack Webster Award for her extensive coverage of Vancouver’s fentanyl overdose crisis. Before joining The Globe, Andrea worked as a reporter at The Vancouver Sun, where her work received two Jack Webster Awards in 2012.

“It was great having active, working journalists as instructors at Kwantlen because they not only taught us the academic stuff, but shared their insights on the ins and outs of newsrooms in Metro Vancouver. Their practical tips – not to mention their references – were invaluable. As well, they were always available by phone or email if I wanted to get a hold of them, and they often emailed interesting stories and job postings outside of school hours. I remain in frequent contact with a few instructors to this day.”


Harold Munro
Harold Munro (Class of 1985) | @haroldmunro
Editor-in-Chief, The Vancouver Sun and The Province

Harold heads B.C.’s largest newsroom, helping direct award-winning coverage for the highest-circulation newspapers in Western Canada and two of the most-visited news websites in the country.

“The journalism program at Kwantlen provided hands-on, practical training for young writers. When I attended, in the pre-digital age, we learned to shoot photographs and develop film, we served in various reporting and editing capacities on the school newspaper and, perhaps most importantly, we each spent two weeks working in the newsroom of a community paper. My experience at the community newspaper led to a reporting position in Terrace, B.C., and then back in the Lower Mainland at The Vancouver Sun.”


valerie leung

Valerie Leung (Class of 2019) | @v_leungg
Digital Reporter, The Richmond News

“Studying at KPU allowed me to learn a variety of different journalism skills – including creating interactive maps, writing on deadline and taking photos. And the small classes provided lots of opportunities to chat with instructors. KPU prepared me well for what came after graduation.”


kier junos

Kier Junos (Class of 2017) | @kierjunos
Video Journalist and host, CityNews Vancouver on CityTV

“I learned a lot about reporting from working at The Runner, KPU’s student paper, where I also made many lifelong friends. My journalism classes taught me new techniques to use in my reporting and how to write well. Strong writing is the foundation of any good journalism. Even in video, you need to be able to write a script.”


Sarah Jackson
Sarah Jackson (Class of 2012) | @sjacksonelisa
Segment Producer, MSNBC

Based in New York, Sarah works as a segment producer for one of America’s leading cable news channels, writing scripts, identifying sound bites and lining up graphics. She has written scripts for more than 20 different anchors.

“Kwantlen equipped me with many of the skills I use on a daily basis, as well as with the knowledge of how to effectively apply them. I think some of my biggest takeaways from Kwantlen are my research, story development and entrepreneurship skills. Kwantlen encourages out-of-the-box thinking with its seminar-style classes, which prepared me to contribute to innovative journalism companies such as MSNBC.”


Hayley Woodin

Hayley Woodin (Class of 2014) | @hayleywoodin
Executive Editor, Business in Vancouver

In her role as executive editor at Business in Vancouver, Hayley helps guide a broad range of editorial activities and leads BIV's magazine portfolio. She co-produces and co-hosts a number of podcasts and virtual events for BIV and contributes extensively to BIV's publications as a writer and editor. Hayley is the Western Canada correspondent on BBC's Business Matters radio program. She was one of three journalists in Canada selected as Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada media fellows in 2017-18.

“A lot of skills, training and first-hand industry knowledge are packed into KPU’s journalism program, as are endless opportunities to apply them. The chance to connect with journalists and editors, to intern in newsrooms, to learn from reporters who have been there and done that, are what make this program an invaluable resource to anyone considering a career in journalism.”


Joel McKay
Joel McKay (Class of 2009) | @joelcmckay
Chief Executive Officer, Northern Development Initiative Trust

Joel heads the Northern Development Initiative Trust, an organization created by the B.C. government in 2005 that commits $11 to $13 million a year to a variety of economic development projects. Before joining Northern Development, Joel worked as a reporter and assignment editor at Business in Vancouver, where he created BIV’s first investigative reporting unit, and won the Jack Webster Award for Business Excellence in 2011.

“Kwantlen is the reason for my success. The faculty helped me finish my degree in three years instead of four, and supported me with an amazing education, internship opportunities and career advice. To this day, my Kwantlen professors continue to provide me with advice when I need it. It's the school that keeps on giving.”


Hosea Cheung
Hosea Cheung (Class of 2008) | @hoseacheung
Co-Founder & Principal, Spotlight West Communications

For several years, Hosea worked as a sports reporter and editor at 24 Hours Vancouver covering the city’s professional teams and major sporting events. He also spent time in Beijing as an English editor for a national news magazine and freelanced for other publications. After switching to public relations upon his return to Vancouver, he co­founded a new PR agency, providing a wide range of communications services with a focus on the Chinese community.

“There's no doubt KPU laid the foundation for me to get to where I am today. Even though I’m no longer in journalism, the fundamentals I learned at KPU still translates to the communications and public relations work I do today.”


Rebecca Blissett
Rebecca Blissett (Class of 2010) | rebeccablissett.com
Freelance Photographer

Rebecca’s work - from concert photographs to portraits - has been published in the National Post, The Globe and Mail, the Georgia Straight, Spin, Elle, People and Western Living. She has also done corporate work for clients throughout Western Canada from indie record labels to large companies.

“My journalism education and experience is integral to where I am today. The level of instruction at KPU is outstanding and there's no better way to be prepared for a career in journalism/photojournalism than being taught by people who work in the industry.”


Holly Reid
Holly Reid (Class of 2004) | @hollyereid
Communications Officer, B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU)

At the BCGEU, one of B.C.’s largest unions, Holly is response for a wide range of communications initiatives, from preparing internal communications to contributing content to online and print publications.

“The four years I spent at KPU gave me an opportunity to learn the critical skills needed for an exciting career as a communicator. My KPU instructors - who were seasoned industry professionals - taught me to write across a wide-range of styles and mediums, including speech-writing, press releases, crafting key messages for specific groups and writing compelling copy for diverse campaigns and initiatives.”


Chris Poon
Chris Poon (Class of 2009) | @Questionchris
Communications Officer, Surrey Schools

"KPU’s journalism program gave me the tools to succeed not only in a fast-paced newsroom environment, but in the wider field of communications. The insightful and comprehensive education provided by the department’s knowledgeable instructors comes from real-world experience, and helps students develop the critical thinking and technical skills needed for a constantly evolving industry."


Kyle Benning
Kyle Benning (Class of 2014) |
@kbbenning
Journalist, Global Saskatoon

“The writing skills I picked up at Kwantlen were vital. Every broadcaster I’ve met has told me writing is the most important skill to have and it has opened up a number of doors for me. Having four years to sharpen my writing skills, broaden my vocabulary and find the best way to communicate are skills I don’t think I would have learned in any other journalism program.”


Sarah Kucharski
Sarah Kucharski (Class of 2014) | @sarahkucharski
Influencer Marketing Lead, Article

Sarah works in content marketing at Article where she previously oversaw the company's blog, email newsletter, website copy, and social media messaging. She now manages the brand's influencer marketing program and a direct team of two. She has also built an impressive web presence through a fashion blog, Taylor Swift Style (taylorswiftstyle.com), that has a total reach of over 300,000, launched a personal styling business, and has been featured in the New York Post, Marie Claire, Wall Street Journal, and Racked. Since graduating, she has also written for The Vancouver Sun, The Surrey Now, and was a reporter for The Fernie Free Press where she did writing, editing, photography and layout.

“KPU taught me the basic tools every journalist needs. But what is truly invaluable is learning under active and experienced journalists who can provide context, insight, stories and connections within the industry. I found that journalism training not only prepares you for a career in the field, but a new way of approaching life. To question, to stay curious, to listen, to be informed, to tell stories. These aren't just writing, research, and interviewing skills — these are life skills that are taught in refreshing, conversational seminars and out in the field.”


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