Saturday, June 22, 2024

Good as gold

By: Ryanne McIsaac

Journalism students celebrate historic win

For the first time, four College of the North Atlantic (CNA) students are taking home gold in the student category at the Atlantic Journalism Awards.

Madison Ryan, Ariyana Gomes, Abigail Butler and Ka Chi Tam recently received the award in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

“Winning an award of this magnitude means the world to me,” Ryan said. “This is the only journalism program in the province, and we were only a class of four people at the time of this project, so we had very limited resources. I put a lot of passion into all the work I do, so it’s incredibly fulfilling to see it pay off like this. We often forget to step back and give ourselves credit, but we were really recognized here.”

Ryan emphasized the fact that collaboration was key.

“Sharing this award with my classmates, the people who have been by my side through every step of the past two years, is very special. This was truly a group effort, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she added.

The award-winning project was called Moving Metro and was a student class project for Kicker, a publication of CNA journalism students. Ryan describes the project as a solutions-based journalism approach to the public transit system in the St. John’s area.

“Each of us have personal experience with the shortcomings and difficulties that sometimes come with utilizing the city’s bus service, and we saw an opportunity for change,” she explained. “We interviewed bus users, city officials, and attempted to interview Metrobus but they declined. Despite this, we organized a town hall where we took questions and suggestions from the public and had transit and city planning experts and advocates on a panel. Overall, the entire project exceeded every expectation we had.”

Reflecting on the magnitude of the award win, Gomes echoed her classmate’s excitement.

“Saying it felt incredible is an understatement,” she noted. “It almost felt like an accolade like the AJAs (gold) is impossible to achieve. We were overjoyed to witness no matter how small the program or resources, with a team dedicated to hard work, anything is possible.”

Gomes offers a strong endorsement of the journalism program.

“I would highly recommend CNA Journalism to everyone who is passionate about reporting the truth and looking at the world from a lens that many won’t dare to,” she said. “It isn’t easy, being a journalist comes with a hefty price, but if you’re driven by passion, there couldn’t be a better career for you.”

The Atlantic Journalism Awards launched in 1981 as a way of recognizing journalistic excellence in print and electronic news in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The four winning students along with their instructor, Jeff Ducharme, recently travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia to attend the awards gala. In addition to their gold win, Abigail Butler won a bursary; former student, Marykate O’Neill won a silver award for video journalism for her work on “Talk of the Tiny Towns: Series of Work” for NTV News; and alumni Beth Penney won silver in the Indigenous affairs reporting and writing category for her work on “Newfoundland and Labrador Apologizes to Residential School Survivors” for NTV News.

For more information about the Atlantic Journalism Awards, visit

For more information about CNA’s Journalism program, visit Journalism-College of the North Atlantic (

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Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne McIsaac
Ryanne is Editor of CNA Currents. Born and raised in Stephenville, NL, Ryanne moved back to Newfoundland after spending 16 years in Calgary, Alberta. Ryanne has a Journalism Diploma from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Cape Breton University. She worked for many years as a reporter and freelance writer. She is happy to be back in her hometown and working for CNA.


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