Centennial College journalism students take in-depth look at small businesses dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic

Spotlight on Small Biz has been created by Centennial College journalism students and is available on the Toronto Observer website.

By ALEXANDER VAROUTAS

Contemporary Journalism students at Centennial College’s Story Arts Centre (Mortimer and Carlaw avenues in East York) are publishing a collection of stories focusing on small businesses during the pandemic.

The project, Spotlight on Small Biz, highlights the resolve of small business operators and showcases the skills required of 21st-century storytellers.

The online stories, to be released over two weeks beginning June 10, cover a range of themes, from businesses that have had to make the abrupt pivot to online, to creative innovations prompted by the ever-changing restrictions.

The stories, written by 29 students, pull from all parts of the city, including East Toronto.

Trint Thomas, a skateboarding coach who recently relocated to Toronto from Vancouver, has been coaching a growing number of students at East York Skatepark. In his interview, he talks about what growing his brand, Elite Squad, has been like with all the uncertainty around restrictions and lockdowns.

The project itself marks a final, all-encompassing challenge for the students of the program as they apply all that they’ve learned over the past three semesters.

“This past semester, we’ve been focused on learning how to apply our new journalistic skills in a newsroom,” says Agnes Felis, a student in the program who wrote a piece on two university students who started a jewelry business.

“This is the largest project we have taken to as a group, where we are coordinating and producing all the content ourselves.”

Beach Metro News has often featured writing from Centennial College students. In many cases, it’s served as their first experience in a newsroom outside of school.

To follow the stories as they come out, visit the website at The Toronto Observer website. They’ll also be shared daily via Instagram (@spotlight.smbiz) and Twitter (@smbiz_spotlight) and Facebook.


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