Kermalli, a freelance journalist and former producer for BBC News and CBC, founded the online magazine during her second semester of teaching back in 2015, before re-launching it this past summer.
The idea formed when Kermalli realized her students lacked the motivation to produce assignments. They didn’t see value in their work when there was no purpose or outlet to publish their stories.
“The idea behind it was to create a space for my students to showcase their best work–and to have it published and shared with the world,” she says. “Getting an A on a journalism assignment is nice, but there's nothing quite like having a byline.”
While teaching at Humber for several years, Kermalli created Artifact with the intentions of starting a project that would be more than a run-of-the-mill news site.
With help from Paul Petrocco, a Humber student web designer and coder, new features allow the site to grow and build more content while students can share their best stories.
“I wanted to help them overcome their fear of cold-calling; many of them would not get calls back from sources once they identified themselves as students doing assignments as opposed to stories for publication,” says Kermalli.
With many topics to report on, Kermalli says the audience for Artifact is much broader and there is no doubt it will continue to grow.
She says coverage on the site ranges on everything from homelessness in Toronto and the World Series to Afghani refugees being repatriated from Pakistan. It also features opinion pieces about daily conversations like what it's like to attend a queer/trans event for the first time and anti-abortion activists and their so-called right to protest on university campuses.
“It's a wonderful medley of news and opinion and beautifully reflective of both the diversity of students at Humber and the journalistic creativity that exists here,” she says. “The benefit of having an outlet like Artifact as a prospective place to publish is that it doesn't from the surface look like a school publication. It isn't immediately apparent that this is a news outlet affiliated with Humber College. Its content, too, is aimed at a wider global audience.”
By collaborating with Humber design students, illustrators and other talents at Humber, Artifact features new and unique features like Dear Journalism Student to provide practical information for students. The site is also linked to different social media accounts leading to useful tips, job opportunities, events and insights of the media industry.
After starting Artifact, Kermalli has encouraged students to work towards a larger goal and expand their portfolio. Any writer in the Humber community can submit and pitch stories to Artifact for publication. Graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and marketing students are also welcomed to share their talents.
All guidelines for submissions are on the site. Follow @artifactnews to see the latest stories.