Journalism professor Jim Coyle taught his final class at Humber Thursday afternoon. The retired journalist is beloved by students for his sage advice and inspiring stories.
“Many of the important things that happen in life will not be things you plan,” said Coyle “They will come by surprise and the question is will you have preparation to give it a try and the willingness to give it a try?”
Coyle, a journalist since 1979, has covered many topics in his time in the industry, from the mundane to the sensational.
He’s written for The Canadian Press, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Toronto Star.
Five years ago, his former colleague, Humber professor Hedy Korbee, suggested teaching his craft to others.
Coyle was unfamiliar with Humber, so Korbee gave him a tour.
“One of my first visits she took me up to the newsroom,” Said Coyle “And I saw the newsroom, and I thought this is a small-scale version of the Star newsroom. I was impressed by the infrastructure here, I was impressed by the teachers I met and thought I would give it a try.”
During his time, Coyle tried to impart the importance of focusing and just how difficult journalism actually is.
“I think students underestimate the labour-intensive nature of paying attention to detail in every step of journalism,” he said.
“It takes a lot of time, focus and cognitive energy to report a story, which is to find the people you need to talk to, talk to them, gather all the information you need, and then it takes the same kind of attention to detail to write it clearly so that it can be understood in one reading.”
Many of his students remember how he’d connect his work experience to his classroom lessons.
“I think what I enjoyed most were all the stories he had to share,” said second-year journalism student Jesse Glazer “The stories about his life, the stories about his work, all the amazing and incredible things he was able to accomplish in his pretty historic and illustrious career, and I would say everything he was able to share with us and all the wisdom he was able to impart was certainly the best part for me.”
His first-year students collected money to give him a mechanical typewriter as a retirement gift.
“He seemed very passionate about the subject,” said first-year journalism student Annabelle Berry,
“At first he kind of seemed like he’d be tough, but he’s a very gentle soul once you get to know him. He just wants to make sure you do the absolute best you can.”
As Coyle leaves Humber to spend more time in his retirement, he has one final lesson for his students.
“Be eager to learn,” Said Coyle “Be willing to practice. Do not fear making an error or a mistake, they are often our best teachers. What we learn in our mistakes is often the best guidance. Take your chance here in class. You can’t do great work and creative things unless you’re willing to take the risk of falling flat on your face.”