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Home Campus News Loyalist Photojournalism Grad Receives International Recognition

Loyalist Photojournalism Grad Receives International Recognition

March 21, 2014

Julia McKay is a 2013 graduate of the Loyalist College two-year Photojournalism program and is employed as a multimedia journalist for the Kingston Whig Standard. During her second year of College, Julia’s photojournalism skills received recognition – within the College and on the international level. At Loyalist, she was presented the Paul Henry Award for commitment and dedication to spot news coverage. Internationally, Julia was recognized with an Award of Excellence in Spot News by College Photographer of the Year (CPOY).

Julia’s award-winning photograph was chosen from a multitude of still images and multimedia projects entered by 634 student photographers from 115 colleges and universities in 19 countries. College Photographers of the Year have gone on to become outstanding professional photographers and leaders in the field of photojournalism – the list of alumni is long and prestigious. The University of Missouri administers the contest with support from its co-sponsor, Nikon Inc. The Spot News category features pictures of an unscheduled or breaking event for which no advance planning is possible.

The evening Julia captured her award-winning photo, she was on her way home to Kingston following a day of classes at Loyalist.

“Earlier, I’d received a tweet about a possible car fire on the highway just past my exit,” recounted Julia. “When I arrived near the area, I could see smoke. The car was on fire. I’d never stopped on the 401 before. In my mind I was running through all the tips and tricks our professor Frank O’Connor had taught us: to pull in past the accident, park as far off the road as possible and wear a reflective safety vest. I like to be prepared, so I had my safety vest and equipment with me.

“The driver and passenger were safely out of the car and the firefighters arrived within moments. They started hosing down the car and I heard a pop at the same moment I pressed the shutter. I knew I had the shot. I continued to shoot and stayed to get the details from the officials. Then I immediately went to McDonald’s, the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot, to edit and file the photos with my local paper. I had been communicating with the editor the whole time and provided the images in time to make the next day’s print edition.”

To see Julia’s award-winning photograph visit: 68th College Photographer of the Year | Winning Images

Graduates like Julia are employed across Canada, from the biggest dailies to smaller weekly newspapers, wire services and other publications. They join the workforce with hands-on experience gained from working on Loyalist’s award-winning online community newspaper, The Pioneer, and the student-run online news service QNet News. Students build a solid industry-standard portfolio that demonstrates a comprehensive skill set: shooting still images, writing stories and producing multimedia.


To learn more about Loyalist Photojournalism, Canada’s only multi-year photojournalism program, contact Professor Frank O’Connor at or visit Loyalist Photojournalism. Applicants with a degree, diploma or journalism experience can apply for advanced standing to graduate in just 15 months.