Carleton student top journalist

A fourth-year Carleton University journalism student and former editor of Centretown News has been named the most outstanding student journalist in Ontario for 2004.

Ruth Sylvestre, 22, won the Rob Austin Award in a competition sponsored by the Ontario Newspaper Awards for her work in the community newspaper published by the School of Journalism.

It is the second year in a row that a Carleton student has won the award. Last year’s winner was Kelly Patrick, now a reporter at the Windsor Star. The competition is open to all college and undergraduate journalism programs in the province and is named for a former city editor of the Hamilton Spectator.

Sylvestre, who hopes to specialize in international crisis reporting, described herself as “surprised, happy and honoured” by the award.

“I really enjoy journalism. I’m looking forward to a lifetime of it — hopefully in some of the world’s most interesting places,” she said.

Born in Kenya, she has lived in Mali and the Ivory Coast, as well as Canada, the U.S. and England.

“As far as I’m concerned, she truly is a citizen of the world,” said Klaus Pohle, publisher of Centretown News and journalism professor, who nominated Sylvestre for her work at the paper last fall.

“She is an excellent student who is as adept with pen, notebook and tape recorder as she is with a camera,” he said of her work. “Editor, writer, photographer. It didn’t matter. Ruth displayed professionalism, competence and maturity no matter what she did.”

Sylvestre plans an eight-month backpacking trip through Asia after she graduates in June before embarking on graduate studies.

The award will be presented at a ceremony April 30.