Laurie McNeill named new UBC Journalism, Writing, and Media acting director 

The UBC School of Journalism, Writing, and Media warmly welcomes professor Laurie McNeill who has been appointed as the acting director of the School at UBC. 

As chair of the Arts Studies in Research and Writing program, McNeill was instrumental in the successful expansion of the unit to bring Journalism and Writing Studies together. 

McNeill is also the director of the Faculty of Arts First-year and Interdisciplinary Programs and is leading a three-year project supported by UBC’s Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, to develop new curriculum and pedagogical supports about academic integrity in first-year writing courses.

A full professor of teaching in the Department of English and in the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media, McNeill studies how individuals and groups represent their own and others’ experiences through different forms of life narrative. Her current projects examine the intersection of the digital and the archival in how individuals and communities make meaning of themselves and others on social media. 

Laurie McNeill

“I am excited to take up this role at such an exciting point in JWAM’s growth, as we develop the connections between Journalism and Writing Studies and discover what we can do together,” said McNeill. 

“The innovative teaching and research that is continuing here, despite the pandemic, is a testament to the School’s outstanding faculty, staff, and students,” she added. 

She took over from outgoing director Alfred Hermida who served the School for five plus years from June 2015 to December 2020 and has significantly contributed to the School’s success during his time. 

Hermida helped shape the journalism program by developing the award-winning Decoding Social Media course and co-developing the integrated journalism program for the master of journalism degree. His leadership, vision and commitment as a journalism educator has paved the way for transformative changes in journalistic practises and has allowed students to be at the forefront of media research and innovation.

UBC Journalism welcomes new faculty and adjuncts

This term, we welcome new tenure-track hire Ori Tenenboim joining the journalism faculty as an assistant professor. Tenenboim will be teaching the JRNL 420/520: Decoding Social Media course to offer students a variety of perspectives on social media across different cultural or national contexts.

Award-winning digital media leader Rachel Nixon joins the School this term as adjunct professor and instructor of JRNL 520X: Imagine Journalism. Nixon has shaped the strategic vision for globally renowned news and information brands over two decades, including the BBC, CBC, Microsoft, The Conversation Canada and Discourse Media.  

Alumna Anupreet Bhamra Sandhu joins the faculty as a sessional instructor for JRNL 100: New Media and Society. The course is co-taught with alum and adjunct professor V.S.Wells, who was involved in two award-winning collaborative projects: More Than Words and Tainted Water during their time at UBC. The course will teach students about the development of new media technologies, their applications, and their cultural, political, and social impacts.

Returning adjuncts

Award-winning journalist Tamara Baluja, producer of the CBC British Columbia social media team, returns to the school to teach the JRNL 420/520: Decoding Social Media course with Tenenboim. Baluja brings practical, real-world experience of the fast-evolving world of journalism on social media and shares best practices with students.

Returning adjuncts include media lawyer Daniel Burnett, who is the instructor for JRNL 534: Media Law and will introduce students to the Canadian legal system and familiarize them to the legal issues and pitfalls faced by journalists.  

Francesca Fionda returns as an adjunct professor this term and will be supervising a directed studies course in investigative journalism. The award-winning course is a collaboration between students across universities in Canada and dives deep into projects that produce impactful pieces of journalism.

The School is welcoming back adjunct professor Frances Bula who will co-teach the JRNL 515D: Integrated Journalism course along with associate professor Kathryn Gretsinger. A reporter with CBC’s Indigenous unit in Vancouver, Chantelle Bellrichard is also joining the School as a sessional instructor for the JRNL 520D: Reporting in Indigenous Communities course. 

CBC network news and current affairs producer Jennifer Leask and award-winning photographer Farah Nosh are rejoining the journalism faculty as adjunct professors for Term 2 of the academic year. Leask and Nosh are instructors of JRNL 520V: Visual Journalism and will bring their visual storytelling and production expertise into the classroom, enhancing the range of skills and knowledge offered by the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media.