News in the digital age: Fellows venture to the University of Toronto Scarborough

By Jim Gurd

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In each of the Fall and Spring terms, the University of Toronto Scarborough holds a series of four or five talks called Great Explorations. This fall, the general theme of the talks was News in the Digital Age. UTSC, through the office of the Maydianne Andrade, Vice Dean, Academic Affairs and Equity, invited Fellows of Senior College to attend one of these talks, titled “Critical News Consumption in the Digital Age”, to be given by William Wolfe-Wylie, Senior Developer, CBC News. UTSC would provide transportation to and from Scarborough, lunch, and a tour of the UTSC campus. Consequently, 21 Fellows of Senior College found their way to the Scarborough Campus on the morning of Tuesday, October 23.

The talk by Mr Wolfe-Wylie was delivered to a full house in the Catalyst Centre, located in the relatively new Environmental Science and Chemistry Building. The speaker gave several examples of the use of large data sets in the development of news stories; these included, amongst others, analysis of how tickets are priced and sold for large events by companies such as Ticket Master, reconstruction of the Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917, and the sending of Tweets by the likes of Donald J Trump. The talk was followed by a lively Q and A during which Mr Wolfe-Wylie made the point that we all need to be aware of the risks that exist in the use of social media and that we need to learn how to protect ourselves against these dangers.

Following the presentation and lunch the group was taken on a tour of the Scarborough campus. Over the past 10 years, enrollment at UTSC has increased to around 14,000 students and the building program has been intensive. There was much to see! The tour started with a short walk to the new Toronto Pan Am Sport Centre, which impressed with its two Olympic size swimming pools, 200 m indoor track, large climbing wall, four full size basketball courts, and more. The group then returned to the main campus where they visited several of the more recent buildings as well as the original, award winning “Brutalist” structure, now called the Andrews Building, designed by Australian born architect John Andrews. Following a brief visit to the Doris McCarthy Gallery, where Hiba Abdallah’s work It Can Only be this Place is currently on display, the group returned to the bus and the return drive to 256 McCaul Street.
Senior College thanks Maydianne Andrade and Eileen Egan-Lee for their help in organizing this outing. We look forward to future interactions with our colleagues to the east.