Last night, the esteemed Ryerson Review of Journalism launched its Winter 2012 issue. Rhiannon Russell was there, and spoke with the Review staff about what readers have to look forward to from this issue.

Last night, the esteemed Ryerson Review of Journalism launched its Winter 2012 issue. Rhiannon Russell was there, and spoke with the Review staff about what readers have to look forward to from this issue.

Online corrections. Larry Zolf. How the media covers crime. Sun News. And four stories about journalism in Canada’s north.

These are just some of the stories laid out across the shiny pages of the Ryerson Review of Journalism’s Winter 2012 issue.

The issue was unveiled in a low-key bar in Parkdale on Thursday night. Ryerson students, professors, and journalists leafed through copies as they sipped drinks and sat on leopard print seat cushions at the Cadillac Lounge. Glittery snowflakes, Christmas lights, and a disco ball hung from the ceiling, with a Christmas tree in one corner, and retro tunes by Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Buddy Holly playing.

The Review is an esteemed Canadian biannual magazine produced by fourth-year undergraduate and master’s students at Ryerson University.

The masthead was at ease — laughing, chatting and looking much less exhausted than they did throughout the semester. “It was a lot of long hours in the mag lab,” said Samantha Anderson, online story editor.  “We survived though.” She smiled. “We brought each other snacks and coffee.”

Each student wrote a feature and had a role in production. Editor Haley Cullingham wrote about The Grid’s inception and evolution. She chose the topic when the weekly was preparing to launch. “I got to watch, like a baby fawn, it find its legs,” she said. It was tricky though, because The Grid was constantly adapting and developing. “I had to change things right to the wire.”

One such change was the addition that noted Dave Topping had recently begun writing for The Grid, according to a tweet from Topping last night.

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Tim Falconer, the Review’s instructor, said he’s very proud of the northern package — clarifying that these stories are indeed a package, and not the issue’s theme. “Four out of 14 [features] are northern stories,” he said.

Journalism can be a solitary profession, but it’s not at the Review. Falconer attests to this. “The thing about being a writer is you spend a lot of time by yourself,” he said. “Here you’re working with other people.”

Ivor Shapiro, chair of Ryerson’s journalism school, made a speech at the launch.

“People are imprisoned [in the mag lab]. People work astonishing hours. People emerge with all kinds of odd behaviour,” he joked. He called the product of this a “combination of discovery, storytelling, beautiful work on words and beautiful work on art.”

Cullingham, grinning, said the whole process was a “mixture of pure exhaustion and adrenaline.” During the production period, students have meetings every morning, even on weekends. “You wake up that first Saturday [when it’s done] and think, ‘Where do I go?’” Cullingham laughed. “I was spending more time at the office than I was at home.”

Marta Iwanek, multimedia editor, wrote a story about Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Paul Watson, who pitched an Arctic-Aboriginal beat to the Toronto Star in 2009. She went to Whitehorse, Yukon, and shadowed him for four days as he covered his beat.

“It was really exciting travelling for the story,” Iwanek said. “I did so much research before I went, but it can’t compare to actually being there.”

As for the whole Review experience, she beamed. “I can’t sum it up in words.”