Journalism students launch online publishing course

by Danielle Brown

With the touch of a button and the click of a mouse, Concordia iPress was launched November 9 as part of North America's first online publishing course.

"Part of what this is all about is showing the rest of the world how great Concordia Journalism students are," said teacher Matthew Friedman. "The quality of the content is great. It's at least as good as any other Web site out there."

Although UBC and Western have online magazines in their journalism departments, neither is created in an online publishing course.

The online magazine course had 16 students last term. They learned not only how to write, but also how to produce the publication. "Our first assignment was putting up a Web page, and I had no clue how this worked," said third-year Journalism student Paris Mansouri.

Web publications are quickly sprouting up on the Internet, providing writers with another venue to publish their work.

"It's obviously a field that is expanding, and if I have skills to offer them, maybe I stand a better chance of getting a job when I get out of school," said graduate diploma student Gemma Wilson.

Ross Perigoe, Acting Chair of the Journalism Department, said that space and money were two important factors in developing the course. The department was able to purchase new computers for the course, and a classroom was available to be converted into production space.

The three-credit course is split in two. The first 10 weeks are spent learning Web design and developing the magazine's format. The final five weeks are spent publishing.

Although the course is in the development stage, Perigoe said that once the broadcasting component of the department goes digital, he hopes those students can link up with the magazine and broadcast their work online.

The magazine, which mainly publishes stories about the campuses and their surrounding areas, does accept submissions from other Journalism students not enrolled in the course.

"I certainly hope that people will look at it and say, This is a neat department," Friedman said.

You can find Concordia iPress at

The first issue of Concordia iPress, dated December 9, 1999, includes stories on the issue of allowing privately funded universities in Canada, coverage of demonstrations in Montreal against trade-globalization talks in Seattle, and an article by Kevin Kinghorn headed "Concordia attracts worldwide attention," which begins:

Like some sort of bizarre culture magnet, Concordia University is attracting students from around the globe who come in search of its unique Tim Hortonesque vibes. Either that or they're coming for the highly regarded winters. Whatever the reason, they're coming -- and faster than we can ship ours out.

This year, the Centre for International Academic Cooperation (CIAC) has received a total of 531 applications from foreign students wanting to study here. By comparison, only 51 Concordia students have applied to study abroad. CIAC program assistant Geraldine Ford believes foreign students are more inclined to take advantage of the student swap program because of their upbringing.

"The mentality of travelling is just not the same," Ford said. "Foreign people are always travelling because other countries are so close, but Canadians are used to staying in their home towns."

Copyright 2000 Concordia's Thursday Report.