Canada’s oldest official student publication happens to be yours truly, The Brunswickan. Our first issue was published in 1867, and we have continued to grow and evolve over the more than a century we’ve been around.
“[The Brunswickan] has been a huge part of my university experience,” said Emma McPhee, a recent UNB graduate who served as the Editor-in-Chief for two years, and with The Brunswickan for five.
The 25-year-old is now a full-time reporter for the Telegraph Journal. When starting university, journalism was not in her plan. She was pursuing her bachelor’s in archaeology and classics. She had been reading The Brunswickan in residence and felt it would be a fun side gig while attending UNB.
“I knew the moment I handed my first story into The Brunswickan that this is what I wanted to do with my life – I was hooked from there on.”
However, with the new position at the paper, McPhee was forced to practice her writing skills, which eventually turned into her current career path.
“I credit my time at The Bruns for preparing me for my job,” she said.
Not only has The Bruns helped find her a dream job as a journalist, but over the years it’s helped McPhee with her anxiety as a student. “I could barely hold a conversation over the phone, but somehow being able to say ‘Hi, Emma McPhee from The Brunswickan’ just took my anxiety and gave me confidence; it helped shape me personally.”
Although The Brunswickan is an amazing way to gain journalistic experience for a future career, that does not have to be the case. “A great thing about The Bruns is that you can have students from all different backgrounds be a part of it, not just journalism students,” said McPhee. The role of the paper is to represent all voices on campus, and working there is a wonderful way to meet new people and instigate meaningful change.
“It’d be great if students started becoming more involved in the process by submitting opinion pieces or just volunteering their work. They don’t need a background in writing to do so,” said Brad Ackerson, another former Editor-in-Chief.
He’s worked with The Brunswickan for the last three years, and feels it’s taught him a lot as a student. “It’s taught me to deal with adversity, definitely just going through so much with the job and doing classes at the same time.”
“The Bruns is all about what’s most important and interesting for students. I’ve always liked doing my own thing, and the best part about The Bruns is that there isn’t a company overtop of you telling you what to write. That’s what makes it unique,” said Ackerson. Every year, the voice of the publication is shaped by those who work there. So every year things are slightly different, and there are consistently new writers working to create different and exciting content.
Working for a completely independent student news publication is probably the, “only time in your life when you’re going to have so much freedom to cover what you want,” according to McPhee.
The role of The Bruns is to amplify the voices of students and to keep them informed on what they need to know. Working there, or even volunteering a single story or letter to the editor, is an opportunity that is always open, a hand always extended.
“Student journalism is important just to create, debate, and hold universities and student unions accountable,” said Ackerson. McPhee went even further, noting that “there are big stories that can be brought out of campus. We’ve been seeing the closure of so many community newspapers in the past few years, but campus newspapers always seem to be the ones who stick around. They’re important to bring local news to communities.”
We matter because we give people a voice and a hand up in a world that’s not always easy for students.
Submissions for letters to the editor can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org