For obvious reasons, Volume 47 has been like no other. Yet, despite Zoom meetings, email communications, and virtual interviews becoming the “new normal” for journalists like ourselves, 371 articles, two magazines, and 25 podcast episodes later, the outgoing masthead has a lot to celebrate.
Behind every issue is a team of writers, editors, copyeditors, photographers, graphic designers, webmasters, and videographers. It takes a village, as they say. Nevertheless, the most important part of a newspaper is its readers.
What we write at The Medium shapes our reader’s understanding of our community. We capture
the perspectives and ideas of our student body, faculty, staff, and community. To take part in this
The Medium also keeps UTM students writing. As an editor, it’s been an honour to work with
such talented writers. We are infinitely grateful to those that trusted us with their words and
Volume 47 was about what truly matters. From Black Lives, to Indigenous voices, to student mental health, we spoke about it all—truthfully, honestly, and unapologetically. The Medium is a space where every voice is heard.
With our names appearing in the bylines of our pieces or in the margins of each issue, we thought to take the time to say farewell to Volume 47 and give our readers a quick glance into the editorial group behind the last 23 issues. So, I present to you, my team, with some goodbyes and some favourite moments of Volume 47.
Paula Cho, Editor-in-Chief, Class of 2021
Four years later, Paula pays her adieu to The Medium. Before becoming Editor-in-Chief, Paula also served as Managing Editor for Volume 46 and Arts Editor for Volume 45. Paula’s dedication to The Medium is evident in her work. But what’s on paper is but a fraction of her passion for the publication.
In our first meeting, Paula told us what she hoped to achieve for Volume 47. Volume 47 was about raising awareness and speaking our truth. Summarizing the year, she says, “Many of our articles this year in the paper and magazines revolved around the pandemic, and my goal was always to try and bring a humanity to the statistics.” Paula mentions that she will miss editing and reading the work of the publication’s contributors, adding, “They are the heart of this paper.”
As Editor-in-Chief, Paula also worked to foster a space where writers could share their perspectives and reflect on their experiences. She says, “From a personal essay on carrying the weight of being an essential worker to an interview with medical students hoping to reimagine healthcare, I’m still in awe of the stories we got to tell.”
Regarding the future, Paula says, “My time at The Medium has deepened my commitment to making newsrooms and the stories they cover more inclusive, and I can’t wait to continue the work at graduate school.” In the fall, Paula will be pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia University. In New York, she looks forward to “studying journalism with some of the most incredible professionals in the industry.”
Paula attributes the masthead in helping her get through this uncertain year. She highlights that she “couldn’t have asked for a more dedicated, compassionate, and hilarious team of editors and staff.” And the masthead couldn’t have asked for a more open, supportive, and bright Editor-in-Chief.
Ali Taha, Managing Editor, Class of 2021
Ali became involved with The Medium in 2017. He was News Editor for Volume 45 and Editor-in-Chief for Volume 46.
We all join The Medium with goals in mind. Ali expresses that he has continuously aimed to use The Medium to provide opportunities to students. Ali has achieved his goal by fostering a space where, as he describes, “writers, editors, photographers, designers, and students can come together to learn valuable skills and grow as individuals.” He also notes that in his four years at The Medium, he “wanted to tell important stories, produce a written record of UTM’s history, and make The Medium a place where curiosity is encouraged.” Ultimately, the copious support we’ve received from writers and faculty alike is indicative of Ali’s success in bringing an energy and vitality back to the paper.
As his time at The Medium comes to an end, Ali will continue working as an Analyst for Spyder Works Inc., a consultancy for mid-market organizations. He will also continue researching for The Reach Alliance, a multidisciplinary research initiative that investigates social programs for the world’s most marginalized populations.
He credits “music, movies, books, and the past 21 years of my life” for helping him through this hard year. After the pandemic subsides, Ali hopes to travel and live in Europe for a short time. He explains, “I want to explore the world while I’m young. My life is lacking nature and culture,” he chuckles, adding, “and Mississauga has neither.”
Ali leaves The Medium with these parting words: “Everyone should read more, so I’ll recommend The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. But beyond that, people should listen. Listen and be curious. And play gracefully with ideas.”
Isik Vera Senel, News Editor, Class of 2022
With the onset of the pandemic, our news became saturated with the tracking of case numbers, outbreaks in the community, and other Covid-19 related stories. As such, Vera quickly understood the gravity of her role as News Editor in providing accurate data and information to our readers.
Quick to pick up a story and write it herself, Vera made sure that no detail was spared as she highlighted the most important breaking news in our community. Vera shared with our readers the ins-and-outs of UTM’s student union, updates on Covid-19 in the GTA, and the rundown of various campus events.
As a team, we spent months preparing for the first issue of Volume 47. Vera notes, “I already knew how talented and brilliant The Medium team members were, but seeing our first issue made me truly realize how lucky I was to be working alongside such a wonderful group of writers, editors, photographers, and designers.” Since then, Vera has enjoyed waking up every Monday to a new issue fresh off the press, reading stories and “looking at the beautiful designs and photographs.”
Next year, Vera will be entering her final year at UTM. Although she will be taking the time to focus on her studies, she also plans to continue writing for The Medium to “expand my portfolio—but mostly because I love the work we do.”
Leaving The Medium, Vera says, “I encourage all UTM students to contribute to The Medium at least once during their university careers and experience for themselves how fulfilling it is to see your own work published in a reputable newspaper.”
Aya Yafaoui, Comment Editor, Class of 2022
Aya’s favourite moment of Volume 47 was the coordination of Issue 17’s “The Medium reviews the dumpster-fire, world-changing, revolutionary year of 2020.” In this piece, the editorial team reflected on each month of 2020 and the events that took place. Aya attributes her admiration to the piece by saying: “Not only was the article the longest piece I’ve had to edit, [but] it was also really special because I was able to collaborate with my fellow editors and gain their wonderful perspectives.”
Volume 47’s Comment section featured a spectrum of perspectives, which can be accredited to Aya’s ability to flesh out the nuances of different opinions. “In all honesty, the aspect I will miss most about this volume is talking to my writers about their ideas, hearing their perspective, and helping them find the words they need to capture an idea and immortalize it in ink,” says Aya.
Despite the complexity of email-communication, Zoom meetings, and the digital adaptation of the publication, Aya notes that Volume 47 will “always be special to me because this team worked so hard to create a paper that we could all be proud of despite the circumstances. It is that perseverance in the face of great hardship that makes this volume so unique and such a treasured part of my university experience.”
Aya’s ability to provide comedic relief with her weekly meme pitch emails, witty comebacks, and commentary on numerous episodes of The Medium/The Message is an integral part of Volume 47. Next year, Aya will continue to contribute to The Medium as she navigates her final year at UTM and prepares her master’s applications.
Like us all, Aya is grateful for “every single person that has had a hand in creating Volume 47. Every person that has written an article, or interacted with the content, or helped on the back end of production is important.”
Chris Berberian, Arts Editor, Class of 2019
As Arts Editor, Chris brought art, music, film, and entertainment to Volume 47. His openness to cover a variety of media, genres, and topics quickly made the Arts section a fan favourite among writers and readers.
On memorable moments from Volume 47, Chris says, “If I had to isolate a single, most-memorable moment of Volume 47, I’d say it’s the writers and their consistent ability to exceed my expectations. […] The greatest part of the gig was reading the creative ways a writer took something and the interesting perspectives they’d make. There are many ways to tell a story, and seeing the unique ways made the editing process exciting, rewarding, and fun.”
Just like everyone, Chris will miss the people of The Medium. “The masthead really assembled an Avengers-calibre team,” he says. He characterizes the team as “the type you could go to the office and breeze through work, and also go to the pub and have a laugh with.”
As summer makes its appearance, Chris says, “I plan to leave my basement, dust off the old bicycle, and embrace the warmer weather outside.” He hopes to continue sharing moments with others, including his friends and family, to “create togetherness amid ongoing isolation.”
Chris will also spend his summer preparing for graduate school and perhaps landing another position at Indigo following his memorable experience as a seasonal employee during the past winter. He also hopes to revive his hockey-scouting-themed podcast project, Cross-Ice Prospects, that he started in March 2020 or begin a new podcast endeavour sharing movie recommendations and juicy hot-takes.
Sarah-May Edwardo-Oldfield, Sports Editor, Class of 2021
Sarah-May’s deep-rooted ties to UTM’s athletic community have shaped the Sports section of Volume 47 and 46 alike. Sarah-May began writing for The Medium at the encouragement of UTM Professional Writing and Communications professor Robert Price. In her two years as Sports editor, Sarah-May has continuously published stories highlighting UTM’s athletic achievement, athlete and staff profiles, and ground-breaking health news.
On her profile pieces, Sarah-May comments, “Too often we see the athlete and their athletic accomplishments, but we don’t see how they made it to where they were. Some came from war-torn countries, have moved 10 plus times, studied in three or more countries, or almost ended up in jail. It’s incredible how unique these athletes are, and I’ll miss having the opportunity to tell their stories.”
Sarah-May highlights that her athlete and communications background made her time as an editor not “feel like work.” She reminisces on attending sports games, interviewing fellow athlete friends, celebrating their accomplishments, and sharing health news as highlights of her time at The Medium. She adds, “I’ll miss finding ways to make sure our little group of student-athletes is acknowledged and celebrated.”
Another highlight of Volume 47 for the masthead has been putting together our two magazines. In the first magazine, The Essential Issue, Sarah-May shares: “It was a combination of reflecting on the pandemic and writing alongside some of the most talented and dedicated writers I’ve ever worked with.” She mentions that she was touched to see how well received the magazine was—elaborating that old family friends reached out to tell her “how powerful my words were.”
“It feels like The Medium has given me much more than I feel I’ve contributed. There’s been so much love, acceptance, and opportunities for creative expression. I’ve been challenged, encouraged, and so very supported,” says Sarah-May. She hopes to continue writing and contributing.
Julia Healy, Photos Editor, Class of 2021
With every piece we publish comes a photograph, hand-picked and thought through by The Medium’s Photos Editor Julia. She has been part of the publication for four years and has held the position of Photos Editor for the last two.
Julia’s ability to represent a writer’s hard work with a picture by showcasing her work or sourcing photographs has brought The Medium’s articles to life.
During this publication year, Julia had to adapt to new circumstances. Unable to send photographers to campus or events, she had to be innovative and problem-solve how to create content for our issues. Julia says, “I feel like [this year] made me more creative in a way as well—or just slightly better at using Photoshop.”
She thanks The Medium for giving her a space to share her photos. As a child, she often focused on the pictures in newspapers, books, and magazines. “Being able to create and curate photos for this newspaper has been a really huge honour for me,” says Julia.
Julia will graduate in November of this year. She mentions that “graduation and the end of this pandemic have been the two things I’ve been looking forward to this whole time.” Once she graduate, Julia will continue working part-time and may begin preparing post-grad applications.
The Growing Issue, The Medium’s second magazine publication, will hit the stand in just over a week. For the entire masthead, the hours of hard-work spent writing and polishing our long-form articles for the magazine will soon pay off when we can hold its glossy sheets in our hands.
Just like everything else this past year, Volume 47 has been a challenge. The support of readers, writers, faculty, and staff have kept us writing, editing, publishing, and creating. Thank you to everyone who took part in this volume.
As we look ahead to next year, Volume 48, akin to everything else in the world, is forecasted to be as much of a mystery. But now we know that no matter the challenge, we can make big things happen. See you next year, UTM!