Class of 2024: These BJ(Hons) grads find their voice in sound

Class of 2024: These BJ(Hons) grads find their voice in sound

Raeesa Alibhai

When Raeesa Alibhai arrived at King’s for her second year in the fall of 2021, she dug in. Her first year had been online due to the pandemic and she was intent on making up for the in-person first year she’d missed. “I jumped into the community as fast as I could,” she says. “I became the Scribe Officer of the King’s Students’ Union (KSU) and the Healthy Active Living Program Coordinator. In my third year I was Chairperson for the KSU. It was an incredible way for me to meet people and get an understanding of the way things work at King’s and be around other student leaders. That was wonderful.”

Invariably, however, there was a sense of loss. “When my fellow classmates and I, who did Foundation Year online, walked by Alumni Hall there was a lingering sense of, ‘Oh, what would it have been like?’”

The closeness of her journalism cohort and the all-consuming nature of the work helped make up for it. “I did the Introduction to Audio (Podcasting) Workshop with Pauline Dakin and I loved it. A future in journalism for me would definitely be in audio, podcasts and radio.” Alibhai hosted and co-produced the Advanced Audio Workshop’s podcast on happiness, “If It Makes You Happy.” “Working on this podcast was so on target for me,” she says. “I’ve always been interested in psychology and our emotions so working with a team of journalists to produce a podcast about happiness was so fulfilling.”

Alibhai is quick to express her appreciation of King’s, the BJ(Hons) program and her professors. “I learned so much in my four years at King’s and I’m walking away with so much knowledge. There are so many professors who had an impact on me, and they have all shaped me in a different way…Lezlie Lowe, Pauline Dakin, Tim Currie and Lisa Taylor have been incredibly supportive mentors and instructors. They’ve all pushed me and shown me that I am capable of more than I could have honestly imagined.”

When we spoke, Alibhai had just completed the first week of the final part of the program, the internship. Alibhai was selected for a placement at The Decibel, The Globe and Mail’s daily news podcast. She’s grateful and excited, but her eyes are open. “They’re a tight-knit team of five or six people producing a daily high-level podcast. I can see how the work affects them and it’s giving me a strong sense of journalism today and the struggles and challenges the industry is facing.” Still, however, Alibhai’s hopeful about journalism’s future. “There is more and more conversation around the power of storytelling in the podcast and audio form, which gives me a sense of hope and promise.”


Molly MacNaughton

There’s a good chance Molly MacNaughton, who, at the time of writing, is interning with the CBC in Toronto, will work as a journalist…if not a sound engineer…or a videographer…or possibly, eventually, as a farmer. A conversation with MacNaughton about her future is a walk through some wonderful possibilities, all the things she loves. “I kind of go with the flow,” she says with a deep, easy confidence that good things will fall into place.

Born and raised in Digby, N.S., MacNaughton, like most of her classmates, went from high school to pandemic lockdown, doing the Foundation Year Program fully online. Her second year she lived on campus with classes still mostly online, her enjoyment of King’s and a deep connection to the closely knit “J School” community growing with each year.

It was in her fourth year, MacNaughton says, that she really came alive. “It challenged all my skills. The News Workshop tested my writing skills and ability to pitch. But the Audio Workshop—that’s where I learned how much I love audio and radio. I love sound. I did a story on polar dipping in Lake Banook and I used so many wonderful sounds…the ice breaking, people shivering. I love everything about sound, going out in the field and recording, bringing it back and listening to it, finding the clips, writing the audio script, playing with it in the editing room.”

Another third-year class was transformative as well. “I did Reporting in Mi’kma’ki and it was totally immersive. We went into the Eskasoni First Nation community in Cape Breton for two weeks. We were introduced to their way of living and we learned so much from everyone we met in Eskasoni. We worked within what our professor Trina Roache called the ‘four R’s’ – respect, reciprocity, responsibility and relationship.”

MacNaughton says that this approach underpinned the way students covered the North American Indigenous Games in summer of 2023. She adds, “I try to incorporate the four R’s in every story I do. Especially forming relationships. That’s something Trina really pushes.”

Asked who she’ll remember as her mentors in the program, MacNaughton stops short. “Honestly, I would have to list the entire faculty … I loved all the professors. They’re all genuinely great people. They really pushed us, and they were there for us. We were such a close-knit community. The J School was like a team.”

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