Thursday, 12 January 2017

Our Fifth and Last Year

No EJ School 2017-18

If you check the Inquiring Minds application for 2017-18, you will notice EJ School is not there.
This is the last school year of this program. 
There will be 2 more classes: one each in January and March and then the program will be done.

Am I sad? Yes.

After 5 years, 31 classes and amazing teachers and almost 800 students, it has been a wonderful experience of week-long, site-based inquiry. The Edmonton Journal staff have been warm, welcoming and eager participants in this process. It has been my absolute pleasure to meet a host of amazing writers, editors and photojournalists during this time.

But we have always known that this program and the Edmonton Journal and PostMedia exist in “interesting times”.
Last EJ School class exit past
Edmonton Journal's Pulitzer Prize
Ever since this idea was a twinkle in Linda Hut’s eye in 2012 and she helped the Edmonton Journal, Karen Unland and Barb Wilkinson find their way to Inquiring Minds, EJ School has been an outstanding example of stripped down, grassroots site building.
However, in-house program champion, Barb Wilkinson, will be leaving the Edmonton Journal at the end of January.
The staff at the Edmonton Journal have been dealing with a steady stream of departures and while huge supporters of this little program are resigned to what will happen.
Linda intends to continue taking interested City Hall School classes over for a visit as long as she can. She does an amazing job in her time there.

When I sent out this information to EJ School teacher alumni, I received back many kind words of their experience of the program. It really has been a great gift to work with open and creative educators.

Change is inevitable and I do not feel print journalism is done. But technology is altering the media used to communicate and all those related business models in many ways. Since Gutenberg it has been so. I understand now that reliable, accurate and timely information is not actually free of charge. What that means to the future of the newspaper business I am not sure.

In the words of John F. Kennedy “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”


Sandy VanRiper

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