Lisa Helps: Why do we need the Martlet?

Alumni Testimonials

Why do we need the Martlet?

Contrary to popular belief, newspapers are not dying. In the era of social media where there are so many messages swirling and where facts have become irrelevant, the role of journalism is more important than ever. And student journalism is a key part of this.

I spent the year as managing editor of the Martlet in my last year at UVic. In that year I saw so many keen students walk through our door with a thirst for the truth and looking for stories to tell. The Martlet is a place for young writers to learn their craft, to practice their skills, and all the while to turn out some high quality pieces of journalism.

More importantly than all of that though, the Martlet builds community. As one of few full time staff, I was in the office all day, every day. The couches were always full and the coffee was always on. And sometimes when we’d be writing the editorial, whoever happened to be in the office at the time chimed in and helped. This led to great debates on a variety of topics as we struggled as staff and volunteer writers, together, to craft a balanced yet provocative editorial message.

Finally, the Martlet gives people an opportunity to grow and learn new skills. Before I’d been asked to apply for the job, I didn’t know a thing about running a newspaper – thankfully I’m a quick learner! My year at the Martlet gave me the skills to go on to found the Village Vibe newspaper in Fernwood, which more than 10 years later provides “news and views from the heart of Fernwood.”

Lisa Helps was Managing Editor at the Martlet and is currently the Mayor of Victoria.