Fabiola was one of the eight recipients of the prestigious Joan Donaldson CBC News Scholarship in 2011. At CBC, she worked with the Toronto regional news team, the news network cable station, the CBCNews.ca staff and the arts content unit. After her internship was over, she took some shifts doing TV production and wrote for various CBCNews.ca‘s desks and specialized pages like the Arts/Entertainment and Science/Technology sections of the site. Then, Fabiola became the first ever cross-platform associate producer assigned to Q with Jian Ghomeshi, the highest rated show in its time slot in CBC history.
Fabiola reflected on how the school has helped her in her professional career.
How did your j-school experience help you transition into a career in journalism?
When I first arrived at UBC, I considered myself a writer who could take decent pictures — but the school’s emphasis on becoming a multiplatform, digitally-savvy journalist opened my mind and made me a quick study. I soon found myself operating professional video cameras, using sophisticated software, and choosing from a range of tools and story treatments. I stopped thinking of myself as a type of reporter and started to appreciate all the ways in which a story can be told.
Two years ago I wouldn’t even have imagined myself applying for a full time position that requires not only editorial insight but also technical expertise. I’ve learned how to learn, quickly and constantly.
Of the lessons you learned at UBC, which one has proven to be the most valuable?
The old system will break down long before a new normal emerges and stabilizes. In these times of transition, journalists must be able to differentiate between progress and regression. No matter how the media landscape changes, we must continue to prioritize ethics and excellence. If we upgrade our skills without upholding our values, we deserve all the distrust and disdain lobbed at us.
What’s been the piece of journalism you’ve produced of which you’re most proud?
Right now I’m most proud of co-creating Generation Why, a weekly digital digest that highlighted the best of CBC News and current affairs programming, across all platforms, from the perspective of young Canadians. Throughout a 14-issue trial run, readers under the age of 30 and young staffers collaborated to recommend and comment on stories they found interesting, useful or important, and that they felt would resonate with their peers.
Open discussions are the future of journalism. We must get better at speaking with, not at, the general public. At stake: their attention and respect.
Would you recommend the j-school to aspiring journalists?
Absolutely. UBC’s curriculum somehow manages to be both cutting edge and well grounded. The professors are first rate, the classes are rich and varied, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to gaze at mountains when you need a sense of continuity.