Stepping Back and Trying New Things: Reflecting on Community Journalism 101

August 07, 2019
This is from an interview that we did with Teresa Wong, who participated in Community Journalism 101 this past June.

Teresa Wong has always been on the search for happiness. For some, happiness comes from success, wealth, or fancy trips to foreign places. And while Wong agrees that those things could make her happy, she’s opted to seek happiness in her daily life. Wong achieves this happiness through stepping out, learning new things, helping other people, and “upgrading [herself]”. 

Wong was a participant in the most recent Community Journalism 101 cohort. It is a free, five-week course organized in partnership with Megaphone Magazine. The course has run yearly at SFU Woodward’s, but this summer it was hosted at 312 Main. Paula Carlson and Surya Govender facilitated the course this summer.

Initially, Wong hadn’t planned on joining Community Journalism. “I signed up [for the course] at the last minute,” she said with a smile. “I didn’t expect it, but I met a lot of people. I learned a lot.”

The course covered a variety of writing topics, from writing with colour, to interviewing, to researching. All of this knowledge was good for Wong, but she really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere. “Everyone was so welcoming; it took all my stress away. I didn’t have to worry about whether I was right or wrong.”

This was crucial, Wong said. She wasn’t sure if she was ready to share her writing. But through the meaningful exchange of ideas and the accepting and friendly atmosphere modelled by the facilitators, Wong found herself opening up and striving to always write better: “I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for this workshop.” As she started to write more, Wong also felt more compelled to read and be more observant of the world around her — both of which were exercises during the course. “I firmly believe that more reading, regardless of what I read, and observation will improve my writing,” Wong said.

“I firmly believe that more reading, regardless of what I read, and observations will improve my writing.”

Beyond writing, Community Journalism 101 was a great way for Wong to also learn other skills. As a volunteer English language teacher, Wong also takes note on how the facilitators led the course. “I want to take these skills that I learned from them to other opportunities,” Wong said. “I’m trying to become a better facilitator too.”

But above all, Wong says that the in-class exercises, homework activities, and the course as a whole helped her to learn more about her world and see it differently. “Failure is the mother of success. History will help you to become a pioneer, because you learn through mistakes. When you take a step back, the world will open up to you.”

Wise words here from Teresa Wong!

Together with the other Community Journalism 101 participants, Wong contributed a few pieces of writing into a zine called Perspectives. Take a listen to her piece, “Favourite Place in the World”:

* Teresa-reading.wav
"Favourite Place in the World" — by Teresa Wong

Favourite Place in the World

By Teresa Wong

I have asked a few friends of mine, “Where is your favourite place in the world?”

I was given may interesting and different answers, from various cities, countries, and places all over the world. It was a great question to start a conversation and was quite educational.

Now, this is a big question for me. I have not been to every place in the whole wide world, though I have had the opportunity to visit quite a few cities and different countries. Each of them carries its own culture, history and beauty. It’s not easy for me to name a single place that is my favourite.

After some careful consideration I found my answer. It’s my home! A house is not a home. I feel a home is not judged by its size, its outlook, and the number of people staying in it — but by the comfort and peace it brings.

It shelters me from the rain, sun, wind and snow. Home is a sanctuary for the tired and weary in body and mind. Home is where you can put aside all of the challenges and struggles from the day and just be yourself.

As we journey through life we all need a place to drop our anchor at the end of each day.

Take a listen to our interview with previous Megaphone Magazine Executive Director Jessica Hannon and Megaphone vendor Peter Thompson on our podcast, Below the Radar

Latest Updates

  • January 10, 2024

    January 10, 2024

    Our Below the Radar podcast mini-series See How We Run! looked at local arts collectives and organizations, highlighting conversations about creation, spacemaking, accessibility, and self-determination within the framework of Vancouver’s cityscape.

  • August 15, 2023

    August 15, 2023

    With details of our 5-year anniversary celebration event to come, let’s take a sneak peek of the upcoming season.

  • July 26, 2023

    July 26, 2023

    Since September 2022, we’ve held 42 events and workshops, released 33 episodes, and engaged more than 25,000 podcast listeners. During that time, working diligently behind the scenes—editing podcast audio, and supporting communications and events programming—was our interim Programs Assistant Samantha Walters, who we are pleased to announce has now moved into a continuing role in the office.

  • July 20, 2023

    July 20, 2023

    On June 29, 2023, 200 people turned out for the world premiere screening of Smokey Devil: Underworld Street Reporter, a feature length documentary by Nathaniel Canuel, co-hosted by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement.

  • June 29, 2023

    June 29, 2023

    On our latest spring season of the podcast, we had the chance to sit down with five SCA artist-scholars for some exciting discussions on their artistic practices and latest research. Whether you're looking to hear more about arts education and the local arts ecology, or just seeking some artistic inspiration, we hope you join us in diving back into these episodes.


Stay Up to Date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.