By ALI RAZA, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
I never expected to find a job in journalism during a global pandemic. Seriously, how do you even plan for something like that?
Pandemic or not, the news never stops. While most of us have been inundated with stories surrounding COVID-19, I’d like to offer a friendly reminder that while global events clearly impact our local communities, we still have to keep our neighbours informed about what’s happening in our backyard.
That’s why I was drawn to Beach Metro Community News. Since 1972, this paper has kept residents informed and connected. I’m proud to add my chapter to that story as the paper’s newest reporter and photographer.
My journey in media started after I finished my undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. I was a keen writer who grew up reading the news and always liked staying informed about events and issues – local or global, so I chose to pursue a career in journalism. That decision brought me to East York where I lived while attending Centennial College to obtain my diploma.
Since then, I’ve worked for newspapers across the Greater Toronto Area, appearing in the Toronto Star several times for my coverage of local communities often ignored by mainstream press. I have written for the East York Mirror, Scarborough Mirror, North York Mirror, Etobicoke Guardian, Stouffville Sun-Tribune, Newmarket Era, Markham Economist & Sun, Vaughan Citizen, Brampton Guardian, and Mississauga News, to name a few.
At Beach Metro Community News, I’ve been hired under a program called the Local Journalism Initiative. Run by seven independent non-governmental organizations from the media industry (including News Media Canada), LJI supports quality local journalism in communities across the country. The program began in 2019 and since then has provided funding for numerous news organizations.
In Beaches-East York and surrounding areas, there are a number of significant issues deserving of increased news coverage. I’ll be looking at all levels of politics that affect this community, as well as transit, city planning, housing issues, small businesses, and anything else of vital importance.
Six years into covering community news, I have the chance to apply my experience where I began my journey – east of the Don River.
I look forward to helping provide news coverage to our readers in a professional, friendly, and facts-driven manner.
When I’m not reporting the news, I’m rock climbing, playing soccer, learning guitar, and I try to catch as many Raptors, Leafs and TFC games as I can. I’m also a die-hard supporter of Liverpool FC in case we have any English Premier League fans in the community. So as you can imagine the pandemic has temporarily halted many of my interests and hobbies.
But all that is secondary to our safety and health. While we may not be able to meet in-person for now, I will try my best to stay connected.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any story tips, suggestions, or comments.
- Ali Raza is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter for Beach Metro News. His reporting is funded by the Government of Canada through its Local Journalism Initiative.