Two journalism students shortlisted for national award
UPDATE: Congratulations to Riyah Lakhani for receiving second place in the Written Word category of the 2016 Emerge Media Awards.
For the second year running, MacEwan University’s Bachelor of Communication Studies students made the semifinals in the national Emerge Media Awards. Tamanna Khurana and Riyah Lakhani are among five journalism students selected from programs at universities across Canada to compete in the Written Word category for 2016. Their stories were originally published in the Scavenger, an annual online magazine featuring student work.
Riyah’s piece, “A refugee’s tale,” tells the story of Meron Gadda, a bright young girl in a resettlement camp in Kenya, while Tamanna’s, “The struggle for the soul of Alberta Avenue,” explores how the neighbourhood is shaking off a long-standing stigma.
In 2015, MacEwan grad Nikki Wiart won the Written Word category for her article “Meet the people behind Canada’s death revolution,” featured in the first edition of the Scavenger.
I’m an international student from Kenya and when I go back home I want to be able to tell African stories. Having the chance to share Meron’s story of life in a resettlement camp in Kenya while I’m in Canada just felt very natural and really solidified what I want to do.
Back in the fall, there were a lot of stories in the press about the Syrian refugee situation in Canada, but they were all about statistics and figures and numbers. I wanted to tell a personal story about the people behind the term refugee—one that talked about the experience and hardships of being an immigrant.
I met Meron through a mutual friend and we immediately had this sense of solidarity. We’re both from the same region, share the same culture and both speak Swahili. Having those things in common provided us with this sense of openness and a genuine connection.
Meron’s perseverance is truly inspiring. Her life has been so difficult, yet she always seems so happy and optimistic. Seeing that, and thinking about how much we take for granted, really struck home for me.
—Riyah Lakhani, Bachelor of Communication Studies student
I’ve lived in Edmonton my whole life and back when I was 15 or 16, I went through a stage when I hated everything about this city. Then I started getting more involved in what was happening here and the more I did, the more I fell in love with it—even the dingiest parts of it that everyone criticized.
When I started going to festivals on 118 Street, I realized that the neighbourhood I had been taught to avoid since I was a kid was actually full of little gems tied to arts and culture. I was struck by the idea that a small cafe run by volunteers could help change an entire neighbourhood and I wanted to let people know that there’s much more going on there than meets the eye.
That’s the story I wrote for this year’s edition of the Scavenger. When I checked my email one night at 2 a.m. and saw that my piece made the semi-finals, I didn’t know what to think. It’s really exciting.
—Tamanna Khurana, Bachelor of Communication Studies student
The Emerge Media Awards are presented at the end of April.
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