What is live journalism?

Live Journalism takes timely news topics and brings them to life through immersive, live performance. It’s an expansion on traditional storytelling formats without the constraint of a page or a soundbite. The format engages audiences on meaningful news stories with the depth and emotional nuance of live theatre.  

Forms of Live Journalism are all around us. From the personal narrative storytelling of events like “The Moth”, to the more broad topics covered in the Ted Talk format. Live Journalism practitioners in North America and Europe have been presenting journalism on stage to continue to reach the public.

Journalists strive for new ways to inform an audience while instilling faith in an institution whose reputation is flailing. A 2022 report from the Reuters Institute found a 13 per cent drop in overall trust in Canadian news media since 2016. Despite spending more time on screens, 38 per cent of people surveyed actively avoid the news. Journalism is in dire need of creative ways to capture and inform an audience. Instead of chasing audiences deeper into their phones, live journalism has the ability to tell important stories with a richness of experience that cannot be replicated on a screen.

About the festival:

Live Journalism/ Journalism on Stage is the second-ever annual event produced by a consortium of live journalism organizations and researchers and presented for the first time in Toronto at the Toronto Metropolitan University’s Creative School. The Live Journalism collective is an initiative supported by the Power of Live Journalism research project (2019–2022) funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation in Finland, City, University of London and Toronto Metropolitan University.

The second annual live journalism gathering builds on the exciting energy created by its predecessor in May 2022 in Helsinki, Finland, bringing together the latest in research about this innovative form of live storytelling. It is a project designed and led by stitched! the live journalism lab at TMU that is run by Sonya Fatah, who received a SSHRC Connections Grant to build the festival. This year’s iteration will continue the work of building community among researchers and practitioners, and sharing this body of knowledge and expertise with students in journalism and/or journalism–adjacent programs across Canada, while continuing the research and practice through various outputs over the course of the year. 

Attendees can partake in incubators, listen to panels, and watch live journalism performances. The full festival schedule can be found here.

Meet the team:

Sonya Fatah, Festival Director

Sonya Fatah (she/her) is a journalist and teaches at TMU’s School of Journalism. She runs stitched!, the live journalism lab at the Creative School, and is the festival’s director. Sonya’s teaches a live journalism course and builds research and practice from stitched! Her live journalism work is part of a larger investment in experimentation with journalistic practice and applying community-based approaches to the practice of live journalism.

Adam Chen, Festival Show Director & Coordinator

Adam (he/him) is the founder of Qilin, a company focused on building connections and community through live journalism and storytelling. Their flagship event is a Toronto-based performance series called The Living Magazine. He is also a lead producer for the stitched! Live Journalism Lab, where his research focuses on how media companies develop journalism-infused productions for the stage. 

You can follow him on IG and TW @adamchenchew

Domenic Demasi, Festival Manager

Domenic (he/him) is currently pursuing a Master of Journalism degree at TMU. Fascinated by the power of storytelling and its ability to shape perceptions and drive change, he has nurtured a particular affinity for international and sports journalism. His global outlook and genuine curiosity about different cultures have fuelled his desire to tell compelling stories from around the world.

Christin El-kholy, Event Producer

Christin El-kholy (she/her) is a journalist from Scarborough by way of Cairo who is interested in telling stories related to urban and social issues across borders, and finding ways to help reclaim space for those who have been oppressed through policy choices and discourses of racial inferiority. She recently obtained a Master of Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University and is currently a multimedia producer at D.C.-based New Lines magazine. Follow her on “X” (formerly known as Twitter): @Chrysographer.

International Live Journalism Festival

Lindsay Hanna, Website Designer & Developer

Lindsay is the Instructional Technology and Web Design Specialist for the School of Journalism. She joined the staff in 2004 after receiving her Bachelor of Journalism. Lindsay also works as a freelance web designer and multimedia consultant for clients, providing advice on advancing their online presence, and in the development of company and personal websites. Some of her freelance clients include, J-Source and J-School’s Canada.

Annasofie 诗慧 Jakobsen, Production Stage Manager

Annasofie (she/ her) is a recent graduate from the Performance Production BFA program at TMU and an emerging Toronto-based production and stage manager. While she mostly does theatre, she occasionally dabbles in the Live Journalism world and loves it! She is thrilled to be working on this project, alongside such an incredible team. Much love!

Mona Korani, Graphic Designer

Mona Korani is an experienced creative professional with eight years of expertise in Graphic Design. Holding a BA degree in Visual Communication from Al-Zahra University, and currently pursuing MFA and DMAE programs at Louisiana State University, Mona is dedicated to continuous learning and keeps abreast of the latest design trends and software. Her collaborative approach shines through in her work, where she excels in team projects, fostering a synergy of ideas to produce impactful and innovative digital designs.

International Live Journalism Festival

S. L., Volunteer Coordinator & Guest Relations

Bio TBD!

International Live Journalism Festival

Jaclyn Mika

Jaclyn Mika is the Communications and Events Coordinator at the School of Journalism. She joined the department after graduating from journalism program in 2008. Jaclyn oversees the J-School Now newsletter and social media for the school. She is responsible for administering school’s awards and the annual ceremony. She oversees logistics for events and conferences at the school. She provides administrative support for faculty, TAs and students.

Amber Ranson, Multimedia Storyteller

Amber (she/her) is a third-year Journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University Her favourite way to spend her free time is travelling, writing, and listening to music. Amber enjoys telling stories about culture and communities through a variety of mediums, including video, photography, and feature writing. Amber is ecstatic to join the LJF team for the 2023 season!

Rochelle Raveendran, Festival Coordinator

Rochelle (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate Journalism student at TMU, with interests in  feature reporting, live journalism, and satire. She was the Fun & Satire editor and an online editor for The Eyeopener, TMU’s independent student newspaper, for over a year. In 2022, she was nominated for two John H. MacDonald (JHM) Awards for Excellence in Student Journalism.

Sheila Reid, Festival Editor

Sheila is in her final year of the Master of Journalism at Toronto Met and has written for the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, and CBC. As a student, she was the recipient of the Douglas Creighton Award for excellence in first year reporting. As a journalist, her work focuses on the intersection of culture and politics.

Kendra Seguin, Director of Festival Communications & Marketing

Kendra Seguin (she/her) is a recent graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Bachelor of Journalism program and is now pursuing her Masters degree at Western University. She has built up a portfolio of written, audio, video, multimedia, and live journalism. Bridging together a passion for telling stories with a secret love for event planning, Kendra is excited to be part of the 2023 ILJF team.

Sia Shete, Marketing and Social Media Manager

Sia Shete (she/her) is a second-year journalism student at Toronto Metropolitan University. She is a profound writer, a mood photographer, an offbeat traveler, a content creator and is the author of her debut poetry novel – “In the Gray.” Fuzing together her love for writing, exploring and creating, Sia is elated to be a part of the LJF ‘23 team as the Social Media and Marketing Manager.

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