Limited interest and limited resources have forced the cancellation of Wordstock, a daylong training and development symposium that has been held at Ryerson University for the last 15 years. J-Source's Alexandra Bosanac reports.
TORONTO//by Alexandra Bosanac — Limited interest and limited resources have forced the cancellation of Wordstock, a daylong training and development symposium that has been held at Ryerson University for the last 15 years.
The event has been a key component of the Alumni Weekend at the university. Several issues contributed to its cancellation, says president of the Ryerson Journalism Alumni Association, event chair, and organizer Don McCurdy.
The first hiccup came after the alumni weekend was moved to the weekend of September 24 from its usual late October start date. Wordstock runs correspondingly, giving McCurdy and his small committee one month less to plan — and attendees one month less to register. Before deciding to pull the plug, McCurdy says only about 25 people had done so.
About a dozen speakers were already booked. Paul McLaughlin was also scheduled as this year’s keynote speaker, and was set to deliver a lecture on interviewing techniques.
A new session geared to students on helping hone their job interviewing skills, with a troupe of actors to help, was also scheduled.
But the low registration numbers worried McCurdy too much.
“If we left it any later,” he says, “People who were asked to do seminars would be well into their planning on how to present and I didn't think it would be fair to have people work on seminars and then have us pull the plug on the event the week before.”
Wordstock founder Bryan Cantley attributes dwindling attendance rates to lack of support from media outlets, who aren’t paying for, or encouraging, their employees to attend training events.
“Some people might invest in their own careers,” he says, “and come out [and] pay their own way, but, you know, I don't know who.” In the past, Cantley’s advocated to put the event on hold to gauge the reaction.
Cantley says it’s up to younger journalists to revive the event.
“It’s time to pass the torch to someone else,” he says. “It's time to move on.”[node:ad]
Correction: An earlier version of this story included the wrong link to Wordstock. J-Source apologizes for any confusion this error may have caused.