It took Donna Kakonge five years to get a teaching job in Toronto, her hometown. Her first teaching experience was at Carleton University in Ottawa as a Television Teaching Assistant. Today she is a known media educator and we asked her about her career and what advice she may have for those interested in making the transition.
Where are some of the places in the industry that you’ve worked?
I’ve worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canoe.ca, Young People’s Press, the Media Research Institute, Share Newspaper, Pride Newsmagazine and New Dreamhomes and Condominiums Magazine, to name a few.
How did you become a media educator?
I really wanted to make the transition to teaching and Robert Payne, a 40-year journalism veteran, helped me along. I went to him for career coaching and, in 2005, he told me about a teaching job opening at Centennial College. I applied and although I did not get it, it opened the door for me.
In 2006 I taught my first course in Toronto at Centennial College in Magazine Journalism. This experience spring boarded into working at Seneca College, University of Guelph-Humber, Humber College, Trebas Institute, George Brown College and Ryerson University. However, if I didn’t have my master’s degree from Concordia University in Montréal, I would not be able to do this work.
What advice do you have for career communicators interested in education?
The landscape for what a lot of post-secondary institutions are asking of journalism educators is changing. Mike Karapita at Humber College calls it “credentializing.” There is a movement for educators to become more educated, and this is a big reason why I am currently doing my PhD in Education at OISE/University of Toronto.
What do you see for the future?
Journalism education needs more of an emphasis on how young journalists and communicators can be entrepreneurs and successfully run their own freelancing business. This is effective from a tax perspective, as well as a job security perspective. Job security is an elusive thing these days; however young journalists can stay on top of this by working for a variety of employers.
If you would like more information on this topic, you can email Donna Kakonge at: firstname.lastname@example.org