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The School of Journalism welcomes 13 new contract lecturers

By: Breanna Schnurr
August 30, 2021

The School of Journalism is welcoming 13 new contract lecturers for the Fall 2021 semester, including eight alumni. 

Navneet Alang

JRN 103: Introduction to Journalism

JRN 503: Critical and Opinion Writing

Navneet Alang is a freelance columnist and technology reporter for the Toronto Star. He has a Ph.D. in English from York University and has taught previously at the University of Toronto. He has written for The Globe and Mail, The Week, Buzzfeed, and the Atlantic.

Alang said he's most looking forward to working with students this year.

"The best part of teaching is always getting to interact with students," he said. "So even though we may not be in person this semester, I'm looking forward to getting to hear what students are thinking about, especially journalism, the media, and the current state of the world."

This year he will be an instructor for the first-year course, Introduction to Journalism and Critical and Opinion Writing. 

Rhiannon Johnson

JRN 103: Introduction to Journalism

Rhiannon Johnson is a CBC reporter, and an Anishinaabe journalist from Hiawatha First Nation. Before becoming a reporter, Johnson was an associate producer for CBC Indigenous. Her work focuses on Indigenous life and experiences throughout Ontario.

As a 2018 graduate of the master's program, Johnson had the goal of returning to J-School.  

“I’ve always had becoming a professor as my ultimate goal career wise. J-school helped me get to where I am and I hope I can have the same impact on students as my professors did on me,” she said. 

She is looking forward to sharing her tips and tricks of the trade and “meeting a fresh wave of eager students.”

Johnson will be joining the roster of instructors for Introduction to Journalism.

Marta Iwanek

JRN 215: Photojournalism

Marta Iwanek, a freelance photographer and 2012 graduate of the program is returning to the School of Journalism to teach Photojournalism. 

“I learned so much during my time at J-School and always knew that at some point in the future, I would want to come back and share the knowledge I have gained back to this community,” Iwanek said “I’ve had so many wonderful teachers throughout my career in photojournalism and filmmaking and always work to share that knowledge forward.”

Iwanek has worked with news organizations such as the Canadian Press, the Toronto Star and the Waterloo Region Record. She also has published works in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and CBC. 

One of her main projects with CBC was a short documentary called Vika (external link) , which received an honourable mention at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Iwanek is also a three-time Canadian National Magazine award winner. 

Tina Cortese

JRN 270: Producing the News

Tina Cortese is the station manager at 105.9 FM THE REGION and has been there for just under five years. 

Before she started at 105.9, Cortese worked at Corus radio and CFRB 1010 AM.

“I often introduce myself as a “producer by trade” and now I have the tremendous honour of teaching the next generation of journalists about producing the news,” Cortese said. “I look forward to the lively conversations and debates about how to create a newscast, how to make editorial decisions and perhaps most importantly, the depth of responsibility associated with making content choices.”

She also has a master's of education from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

On top of being one of the instructors for the second-year Producing the News course, Cortese also teaches at Durham and Seneca colleges.

Brian Hastings

JRN 270: Producing the News

Brian Hastings is a current story editor at TSN and a graduate of two X University programs: a bachelor of journalism and a master's in media production.

Before TSN, Hastings worked as an archivist and content associate for The Score Television Network. 

Hastings says his favourite thing about journalism is storytelling.

"Hands down, arguably one of the most important aspects of journalism is storytelling, whether it be print or video. Being able to put together a story that informs people is such a key skill," He said.

This year, Hastings will be joining the roster of instructors who teach the second-year course, Producing the News.

Shanelle Kaul

JRN 270: Producing the News

Earlier this year, Shanelle Kaul participated in a Career Coaching Night with the JCU where she got to meet dozens of journalism students. 

“It was so much fun to chat and connect with them—I knew I wanted to do more to help students land their dream jobs,” Kaul said. 

Kaul is a reporter and anchor for CP24 in Toronto, and makes appearances on CTV's Your Morning and The Social. She graduated from the School of Journalism’s undergraduate program in 2012. 

Meeting people and using her curiosity are her favourite aspects of journalism. 

“The best part of my job is getting to listen to people and share their stories. Also, every day is different!” Kaul said.  

She has previously worked at Rogers Communications, BNN and Global News. 

Kaul will be an instructor for the Producing the News course this year. 

Winston Sih

JRN 314: Reporting for TV

Winston Sih is a recent j-school graduate, a digital journalist and a freelance media personality.

Before freelancing, Sih worked at Bell Media, The Huffington Post and Rogers Communications.

Sih says he's excited to teach at J-School as it's such an exciting time to work in journalism.

"The media industry is figuring out new models of operating on emerging platforms, and legacy players are channelling creativity to define a new normal post-COVID. We as journalists get a front seat. Journalism is a collaborative effort, and I want to be a part of that conversation," he said.

This year, Sih will be instructing the Reporting for TV workshop. He has previously been a TA at the School. 

Naheed Mustafa

JRN 318: Podcasting and Radio Basics

Naheed Mustafa is a producer at Ideas on CBC Radio. 

“A significant part of my job at Ideas is working with freelancers and CBC staff who are often first-time contributors to the program. Working with them to help develop their story and bring it to broadcast is deeply satisfying and I enjoy doing that in a classroom setting as well,” she said. “Maybe someone sitting in class today can make a documentary for Ideas down the line!”

She said she is excited about introducing students to audio journalism. “Video gets all the glory so the nuance and depth that's possible through audio often goes unnoticed. I think students are often surprised by the possibilities of audio and I'm hoping they'll discover it in my class.”

Mustafa also freelances as a broadcaster and writer. She has previously worked for organizations such as Radio Netherlands and the BBC, with her writing seen in the Toronto Star, The Walrus and Outpost Magazine.

This Fall, Mustafa will be an instructor for Podcasting and Radio Basics.

Vidya Kauri

JRN 344: Making a Difference: How Journalism Matters

Vidya Kauri is the assistant managing editor at Law 360 and a 2013 School of Journalism graduate. She will be teaching the third-year course, Making a Difference: How Journalism Matters.

Kauri has a long-standing background in law, global conflicts and foreign affairs. She has written for many major news publications, including but not limited to: The Globe and Mail, Al Jazeera, the Toronto Star and the Huffington Post.

Her current position at Law 360 deals with immigration, trade and defence.

Kauri was previously one of the writing coaches for the second-year undergraduate feature writing course.

Russ Martin

JRN 403: Journalism and Ideas

Russ Martin is a 2010 J-School grad who currently works for Hello! Magazine. 

His previous work includes being the technology editor at Postmedia Network Inc. and a senior staff writer at Rogers Communications.

Martin also freelances and recently received his master's degree in communication and media studies from Brock University.

Martin decided to teach at J-School due to its "efforts to diversify and modernize its faculty and course offering in recent years."

Martin will be an instructor for the Journalism and Ideas course.

Jane Gerster

JRN 851: Newsroom Masthead

Jane Gerster specializes in feature writing. She is primarily independent but does work at the CBC as a writer and an editor.

Gerster is currently writing an investigative book that will be published in 2022.

Gerster's favourite thing about journalism? The power of ideas.

"I like the power of a really well thought out idea. I like the magic of a beautifully articulated piece that helps you see the world in a new light. I like sinking into a subject and figuring out how to report about it in a way that is new, in a way that doesn't feel repetitive or reductive. Really good journalism feels like the antidote to some of the worst parts of our perennially online lives, and in that way, it gives me hope. Reading journalism and practising journalism, to me, are both inherently hopeful acts," she said.

Gerster will be working as one of the instructors for the Newsroom Masthead this year. She was a TA for the course last year.

Laura Hensley 

JN 8502: MRP II: Storytelling

Laura Hensley is the communications manager at Think Research and a 2016 graduate of the MJ program.

Hensley has worked for the National Post, Flare Magazine and Global News and as a freelance reporter. She has written stories for other outlets such as Chatelaine, VICE, MTV Fora and many others. 

When she's not working, Hensley says getting outside and "biking down to the beach after a long day" is something she enjoys doing.

This year, Hensley will be an instructor for the MRP II: Storytelling course.

Shireen Ahmed

NNS 512: Reporting Sports

Shireen Ahmed is a freelance journalist for TSN Canada, co-host of the podcast Burn it all down, and a TEDxToronto conference speaker. 

Her goal through her writing is to elevate and report on women's advocacy through sports.

Ahmed says while she's excited to teach, she's also happy to learn.

"I think that I'm really excited about learning from the students as well, and their input in terms of practices and ways that they apply technology, whether it's Tik Tok  or social media, as part of storytelling."

This year, Ahmed will bring her experience to the Reporting Sports course.

-- with files from Jaclyn Mika