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Alumni Profiles

Jeff Rosen

Jeff Rosen

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Year of Graduation: 1982
Program: Journalism - Print

Headline News

Back in 1982 the employment situation for journalism grads was terrible. I think I sent résumés to every small newspaper across Ontario with no luck. One day I found an ad in the Globe & Mail. A publisher was seeking someone for the position of news editor for a start-up paper in a town of 1,000 people in Saskatchewan. I sent in a résumé and got a call a few weeks later. We did a phone interview and I was hired. I spent the next nine months working in the town of Coronach at the Borderland Reporter. The newsroom consisted of myself –– I did all the news writing/photography –– and a sales person.

After nine months I had enough and moved to Battleford and took a job with the Battleford Telegraph as a reporter. A year later I was let go and returned to Ontario. One evening I covered a meeting about a group of concerned people who were opposed to plans for a proposed covered stadium planned for Downsview Airport. (The stadium eventually moved downtown and was named SkyDome). I freelanced the piece around and it was bought by The Canadian Jewish News. The news editor at the time told me from then on to wait for assignments from them rather then submit pieces cold. Stories started coming my way and I was asked to fill in for a reporter who was out of town on assignment. One day while working in the office a reporter called the editor and resigned. The editor called me into his office and asked me if I would like the job. That was 23 years ago, in 1984.

In 1989, the news editor at the time (a different person then the one who originally brought me on) was fired and I applied for his position. I got it. In 1998, The Canadian Jewish News decided to launch a website and I was asked to take it over. Since then I have maintained it, been involved in redesigning it many times, and instrumental in adding and removing sections.

Over the years I have done some fascinating interviews and stories including one with former PM Joe Clark. Once I even had the opportunity to go up in a glider. The best was living in Saskatchewan for two years and seeing Canadian life from a different vantage point.

In my current position I liaise with the editor on a daily paper about stories, and assign stories to staff and freelance reporters. I also work in production helping layout about 85% of the paper on a weekly basis. I decide what stories will go in and on what pages, write headlines, etc. I also maintain the paper’s website cjnews.com.

Looking back on my days at Sheridan, some key moments were interviewing Don Shields, president of the college at the time and having the story appear in the Oakville Beaver. This was my first piece ever to appear in a newspaper and it was a major accomplishment. On the lighter side, going to the Niagara Beer and Wine Festival was just fun.

The entire Journalism faculty was so great but its head, Ben Rose, demanded nothing less then perfection and pushed us hard. This has served me well in my career.

What advice would I offer students today? I saw many of my fellow Journalism grads settle for jobs outside of their profession because they could not get jobs close to home. College is to help a student get a job in their chosen profession. Don’t settle for anything outside your field, no matter where you have to relocate. Also, don’t expect top dollar and a cushy office when you graduate. Start at the bottom of your field and learn everything you can.

Graduation is not the end, but the beginning of your real education which starts once you enter the workplace. I often found it useful to listen and learn everything I could from those who worked in the profession.

In my spare time these days, I enjoy reading mystery and science fiction and playing on the computer. I have created my own website: www.jelijo.com.