Recent Ryerson U. Graduate Virginia Sexsmith Wins 2013 Student Writing Award in Business-to-Business Category

Virginia Sexsmith, a recent graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto, won the 2013 Student Writing Award for the Specialized Business Press presented jointly by the ASBPE Foundation and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC.)

Her winning article, published in the Ryerson Review of Journalism, was titled “Endangered Species,” and examined the spread of “copy mills” that have taken over much of the newspaper editing function at North American publications.

GinSexsmith

Gin Sexsmith

Virginia, who goes by Gin, gravitated toward journalism when she left Deseronto, Ontario, to attend Ryerson. Previously, she had been interested primarily in poetry, short stories, lyrics, and other creative writing, although she had written for her high school newspaper. She hopes to get a copyediting job – among the type of positions that has been dwindling lately – or do freelance writing, and start a novel.

Said the judge of the competition, which drew 13 entries in the business-press category, it “aptly describes the decline of the copy editor and the implications for newsrooms and news.” The judge added: “How this lack of emphasis on copy editing is causing a stark reduction in standards quality and morale at newspapers is well researched and described in this article. It leaves the reader pondering the implications of cost cutting and declining standards not just for the newspaper industry but for other businesses as well.”

Describing her main love as music, she is lead singer of a band started with her brother, called Sexsmith.

This is the second year that the ASBPE Foundation, the not-for-profit educational arm of an editors group that represents business-to-business magazine and online editors, has joined AEJMC in awarded a prize for student writing in the B-to-B category. Last year’s award also was won by a Ryerson student, Daniel Viola.

“Teachers need a better understanding of the quality of business-to-business reporting and editing, and the wealth of jobs that are available to young graduates in that field,” said Roy Harris, president of the ASBPE Foundation. “This award encourages professors to make students aware of this journalism sector, and to encourage them to learn the reporting skills necessary for success in the field.”

The award was announced at ASBPE’s national conference in Oak Brook, Ill., on July 26.