Rosemary Murphy knew it was time for a career change, but she didn’t expect to become a journalist. After running a restaurant and brew pub in Antigonish for six years, Murphy says “after a while it just started to feel really kind of limited.”
Murphy made the decision to sell her restaurant, and had moved to South East Asia to pursue international development when the pandemic hit.
“I suddenly found myself back in Nova Scotia without a real plan,” says Murphy.
But while in South East Asia she worked on a sustainable tourism project that had sparked a passion inside her.
“I got to write a couple of articles about tourism in southern Laos,” says Murphy. “I enjoyed it so much. I realized I really loved writing.”
Back in Nova Scotia, completing her self-isolation period and wondering what to do next, she decided to apply to the one-year Bachelor of Journalism program at King’s, almost as a back-up plan. She still assumed she would be heading back to South East Asia before long. But the pandemic had other plans for Murphy. She realized that travel was not going to happen anytime soon, and she resolved to pursue her newfound passion for writing.
Murphy, who has a degree in philosophy, was accepted to the program and as she prepares to graduate, she finds herself on the cusp of a new career.
“It ended up kind of being really perfect for me,” said Murphy.
The one-year program consists of a journalism bootcamp, where students are introduced to journalism and ethics. There are also workshops which focus on honing certain journalistic skills such as long-form storytelling, audio and video performance and editing.
Murphy says she found the bootcamp “intense” but she enjoyed it.
“I found it super stimulating,” she said.
In the course of her studies, Murphy was also able to write a story she really cared about.
In January of this year she published an article in The Signal, the publication run by the School of Journalism. Titled “’It can happen to anyone’: N.S. woman opens up about surviving human trafficking,” it is a harrowing story of a young woman who was drugged and assaulted by human traffickers while visiting Montreal. “It felt like real news,” she says.
Since publication, the article has received over 74,000 page views. The article has also earned Murphy the Atlantic Journalism Awards’ Atlantic Lotto Prize for Journalism Excellence.
Since starting journalism at King’s, Murphy has worked as a freelance writer, interned at Information Morning at CBC and at this point she hopes to continue working with CBC Halifax.
“My ideal would be to continue working in radio, whether it’s with CBC or maybe even getting into podcasting,” she says.
And she has some advice for potential King’s students.
“I felt like the profs and instructors made an effort to [let students] know they were there when you needed them,” said Murphy. “Reach out and make as much use of these experienced people as you can in terms of gleaning insight […] from their professional lives.”
Sarah Moore loved writing and while she was curious about journalism, she wasn’t sure if it was for her. Ultimately the appeal of the Foundation Year Program (FYP) helped her decide to come to King’s.
After completing FYP, she decided to pursue the Bachelor of Journalism (Honours) program.
“Taking journalism was a way to work on my writing skills and learn different forms of storytelling while pushing myself out of my comfort zone,” she says.
Moore, who came to Halifax from Calgary, Alta., is now in her final year and about to graduate—something she finds hard to believe.
“It was a whirlwind. Very stressful at times, but full of learning,” she says.
Moore adds that although the final year was difficult due to the pandemic, and while she missed the intimacy of campus life, she consistently enjoyed her time at King’s.
Through that time, Moore took advantage of her ability as a King’s student to participate in athletics and other extracurricular activities offered through Dalhousie. Moore wrote with the Dalhousie Gazette as sports editor, and played on one of Dalhousie’s intramural hockey teams—alongside other King’s students.
“It was a great way to meet people outside of journalism and keep myself balanced.”
She also provided musical accompaniment for Classics in the Quad in 2019, playing piano.
Despite what might appear to be a busy social life, Moore considers herself an introvert. This provided the inspiration for her fourth-year honours project. Moore was curious as to how other journalists with introverted personalities deal with being in a field seemingly tailored to extroverts.
“I thought that […] there have to be successful journalists who also fall within a more introverted personality range,” she says.
Her research paid off: through talking to reporters and editors at different outlets, she learned that some journalists consider being introverted an advantage. She says although personalities like her own might find scrums or interviews stressful, several people she spoke to also considered those situations the most rewarding. The article Moore wrote on the subject, “The introverted journalist is doing just fine,” was nominated for a 2021 Emerge Media Award.
As she looks to the future, she says the audio workshop she took with Pauline Dakin bolstered her love for audio work and podcasting—it is an area she would like to continue exploring.
In the meantime, though her student days are drawing to a close, Moore’s pace isn’t slowing down: she is in the process of finishing her internship with the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association, while working as a research assistant for the MacEachen Institute of Public Policy and Governance at Dal. She also has a job lined up at CBC Calgary in June as a part-time web writer.
Though she says she’s nervous to conclude her life as a student, Moore feels ready: “I feel prepared coming out of the journalism program…. the news workshop in fourth year was particularly helpful in developing my hard news skills. I’m very excited for the opportunity to work in a newsroom.”
Join us on May 27 to honour and congratulate the Class of 2021! The celebration will be shared on Facebook and YouTube May 27 starting at 3 p.m. AT. Learn more.