A year ago, Marie-Claude Lemieux had what most people would deem an enviable career as an up-and-coming lawyer at a prestigious Quebec City law firm, but it was a far cry from her true passion.
"Law is a situation of conflict for most people," she explained. "I've always just wanted to tell human stories."
After five years, she quit, and enrolled in Concordia's Graduate Diploma in Journalism program, choosing the intensive three-term program in print journalism.
Following a frenzied year in which she juggled full-time clas ses and a part-time job as a researcher for Radio-Canada's Denise Bombardier, Lemieux entered the ruthlessly competitive world of broadcast journalism.
Weeks of phone calls and two exhaustive interview sessions with CBC Newsworld landed her a plum summer position as a chase producer for the highly rated afternoon program Newsworld Todayin Toronto.
She is now expected to research the day's top news, track down the people behind the story, set up interviews with them and draft questions for Ben Chin, the on-air anchor. "It's different from print journalism -- it's all about images -- but the stories are the same."
She recently found herself in the thick of coverage of the deadly Walkerton, Ont., E. coli outbreak. While on location in the small town, she managed to track down the president of the Canadian firm that is providing an experimental antidote for the fatal bacteria and convinced him to explain how it works on air.
If the summer continues to be a success, she hopes to be offered permanent work at the CBC. That would be just the beginning for the 28-year-old Lemieux, who wants to be a foreign correspondent.
- Brad Mackay
Katherine Bosnitch's graduate work is the stuff of coffee-table books. Bosnitch, who is receiving an MFA in Art History, traced the groundbreaking fashion advertising by the Montreal flagship store of Eaton's through the 1950s and 1960s, documenting what she describes as "gorgeous illustrations" in a pioneering style that were printed using cutting-edge colour technology.
Focusing specifically on the work of three artists in advertising campaigns printed in The Gazette, Bosnitch painstakingly analyzed the style of Eaton's fashion illustration and its use of colour in all editions of TheGazette from 1952 to 1972. Eaton's was "very advanced" in the use of colour, she explained, while The Gazette was the first newspaper in Quebec to carry run-of-press colour ads.
"The ads revolutionized the style of advertising," said Bosnitch, explaining that Montreal illustrators were in the forefront of a move away from Expressionist drawings, toward a new style similar to poster art, such as that of French artist Toulouse-Lautrec at the turn of the century. The full-page ads in The Gazette, she added, were "absolutely spectacular."
For Bosnitch, herself a working fashion illustrator, the writing of her thesis is the completion of a mission. She was inspired to go back to university by a working stint in France, where she found commercial fashion illustrators were well respected and organized.
"In North America, commercial art work is rarely looked at from an art historical perspective," Bosnitch explained. "I wanted to write about commercial illustration because it's something that nobody writes about in this country. I wanted to give credibility to illustration, and document our history while the artists and their archival materials are still with us."
With her Master's project co mpleted, Bosnitch has "big dreams." Already, she has contributed to a book about the fashion industry that's being put together by the Royal Ontario Museum. In addition, she would like to exhibit or publish the drawings -- to spread the message about the work of Canadian illustrators.
Specifically, Bosnitch found that three Montreal artists -- art director Jack Parker and illustrators Eugenie Groh and Georgine Strathy -- "really did revolutionary work" for commercial advertising. "I would like people to realize that Canadians are accomplished in commercial illustration. We shouldn't always be looking abroad to hear about what everybody else has done."
- Frank Kuin
Suzanne Bate just went on a $250 shopping spree at Zeller's because nothing in her wardrobe is suitable for the scorching heat of Senegal, to which she will be subjected for the next 10 weeks.
Her wardrobe was filled with black and other dark-coloured clothing, but she needs cotton and other airy fabrics. "You don't want to be attracting mosquitoes with malaria," she said wisely.
Bate, who majored in Anthropology with a minor in Religion, will be working on a community development project as part of an internship offered by Forces Avenir, a non-profit organization that rewards student initiative.
She was approached by representatives of Forces Avenir at a ceremony where Bate, 28, was receiving yet another accolade for her contribution to student life. She applied and was a finalist, but when some of the winners couldn't go on the internship to Africa, she happily agreed to go in their place.
"I dropped my plans, I quit my job and I've been studying the language," she said. Wolof, the language of the area outside the capital city of Dakar, where she will be working, is spoken very quickly by the natives. "I'll probably get the hang of it when I leave."
Bate has a shown a deep interest in alleviating student poverty. Four years ago, she began volunteering at Mother Hubbard's Cupboard by helping to cook the weekly vegan meals served to students for $1.
"I went there out of need because I was just flat broke. I had a buck fifty to my name. I didn't have anything to eat at home and I was hungry." For the next three years she was the volunteer coordinator of the Campus Ministry outreach program.
She has also volunteered for the Peer Support Program, the Concordia Women's Centre and the Centre for Native Education. Recently she co-founded a national non-profit support organization called Advocacy for Native Adoptees.
Born in Edmonton of Métis parents, she was adopted by a white family from B.C., and felt alienated at various times from both natives and non-natives.
Bate hopes to be accepted for another internship, this one offered by Pacific People Partnership and based in Tahiti. She will probably take a break from her studies for the next couple of years and is contemplating a stint as an English instructor in Japan to help repay a chunk of the student loan she has accumulated.
- Anna Bratulic
Copyright 2000 Concordia's Thursday Report.