Hyperlocal blog created by Durham College Journalism students hits the web

Third-year Durham College Journalism student Kyle Reynolds (left) interviews a student for an upcoming blog post. Created by students in the Journalism – Print and Broadcast program, www.downtownoshawanews.com was officially launched last month.

November 9, 2010

Downtown Oshawa has become the focus of a new hyperlocal blog created by third-year students in Durham College’s Journalism – Print and Broadcast program. The blog, www.downtownoshawanews.com, was launched on October 2 and is dedicated to covering news and events happening in Oshawa’s downtown area.

Funded by the college’s Innovation Centre as well as the Durham College Research Fund, it is the first and only college-based hyperlocal blog of its kind in Canada. Hyperlocal blogs are different from other generalized blogs, as they are written from a community perspective with the primary focus being the concerns of its residents.

The blog will be a project-based learning experience for students who will work as multimedia journalists, writing online stories; taking photographs; shooting video; creating slideshows; and producing audio interviews; with an external managing editor overseeing the entire project.

Developed by Anna Rodrigues, a professor in the School of Media, Art & Design, the blog was introduced as a way to expose Journalism students to real-world experiences in an urban setting while bringing light to issues currently not being covered by major media outlets. The result also gives a voice to citizens living in the downtown core.

“I’m really excited about this project because it’s offering my students an excellent opportunity to report and uncover stories that don’t always get covered by mainstream media,” said Rodrigues. “It’s always rewarding to know that you may be breaking new ground with a project that may help other Journalism programs establish the same type of experience for their own students.”

Since launching, the blog has covered topics ranging from the Oshawa Generals Junior A hockey team, to local restaurant profiles, to the recent municipal elections. A contest was also recently introduced to encourage students from the college and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology to submit a video promoting the blog to those who live, work and visit the downtown area.