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Alumni Western Be Extraordinary The Campaign For Western

Brodie Fenlon, MA'99

Faculty of Information and Media Studies Journalism Alumni Gallery of Distinction

The ground started to shake at Brodie Fenlon’s office in June 2010 and he quickly published a story – that tremors had been felt in Toronto and Ottawa – to the Globe and Mail’s website.  Over the next five hours, editors and reporters added richer detail, expert analysis, live chats, multimedia and reader reactions from Twitter. That article – about an earthquake that shook Ontario and Quebec – became one of the Globe’s most-read stories in the newspaper’s online history.

And it all started with Fenlon’s article – a single sentence in its first published version. 

“In the digital space, stories are alive – they’re living, breathing things,” says Fenlon. “The story can be changed and updated and enhanced in a matter of hours and it can look very different from the way it started. It’s such a rich experience and you’re living that experience with everyone else.”

Fenlon started his career as a newspaper reporter, but made the switch to online media in 2007, when he joined the Globe as its online editor. After more than four years with the Globe, Fenlon recently took on a new challenge: in May 2011 he became the senior news editor and helped launch the Huffington Post Canada, the home-grown imprint of one of web media’s biggest success stories.

For Fenlon, the Huffington Post is an ideal marriage of his work experiences at the Globe and the Toronto Sun, combining tabloid-worthy headlines with weighty, serious issues that matter to Canadians. He says the company’s “dot-com mentality” allows him to take chances and foster innovation without climbing through the bureaucratic hurdles in traditional media.

Back when he graduated from Western in 1999, Fenlon couldn’t predict that his career would be filled with terms like web metrics, search engine optimization and social media integration. But he caught a glimpse of where the industry was headed while studying journalism at Western. One of his teachers, Wendie Crouch, was posting multimedia stories to the web, before it became the norm.

“I think back now and it was such a new and out-there concept,” says Fenlon. “Wendie and the program already had seen the trend and knew they had to be there – and they were doing it.”

Read the complete story: Faculty of Information and Media Studies Journalism Alumni Gallery of Distinction


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