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U of R always feels like home for journalism grad

By Costa Maragos Posted: December 14, 2015 6:00 a.m.

Molly Thomas in Erbil, Iraq interviewing Sarah Ahmed, a 27-year-old Iraqi local who fearlessly travels between refugee camps to provide humanitarian aid and school supplies for children.
Molly Thomas in Erbil, Iraq interviewing Sarah Ahmed, a 27-year-old Iraqi local who fearlessly travels between refugee camps to provide humanitarian aid and school supplies for children. Photo courtesy of Cecil Laguardia.

The U of R campus still feels like home to Molly Thomas, nearly five years after she graduated with a degree from the School of Journalism.

“I know my teachers by their first names. I have many of their cell phone numbers, and I just called one of them,” laughs Thomas, speaking to us during one of her recent visits to the U of R. She now lives in Toronto.

“The university represents not only just getting my degree, but playing basketball in the gym – and coming here as a young kid to watch the games. My brother was here and my sister.  All three of us have graced the hallways here. It is special.”

Thomas was back in Regina recently to shoot a segment for a faith-based current affairs show called Context with Lorna Dueck, which airs on Global TV across Canada and on smaller networks in the U.S.

Thomas’ story, “Faith in the Big Leagues,” features members of the Saskatchewan Roughriders who value both football and faith.

Molly Thomas and Roughriders
Molly Thomas with Roughriders John Chick and Jeff Knox Jr. for her upcoming “Faith in the Big Leagues” show. (Photo credit Rod Donison).

Thomas regularly contributes stories and hosts for Context while attending the University of Toronto, where she is pursuing a fulltime MA at the Munk School of Global Affairs.  

However, prior to her return to university, Thomas compiled an impressive resume early in her broadcasting career.

She has contributed to newscasts at Global News Edmonton, CBC Quebec, CBC Saskatchewan where she was a TV and radio reporter, and CTV Regina where she was the co-host of Saskatchewan’s top-rated TV morning show.

Thomas held that job for more than two years, receiving two nominations from the Radio Television Digital News Association, and winning the Prairie Regional News Award for her sports feature on the U of R Women’s basketball program called “Tracks of Success.”  

Thomas credits her early broadcasting success to the training she received at the School of Journalism.

“I’ve worked in different places across the country and one of the things that amazes me about this program, is the internship component,” says Thomas.

“First time you knock on the door for a job you have the skill sets behind you. You’ve already worked in the business and that’s incredible. I noticed that in other schools in the country, fellow journalists did not have that opportunity.”

Molly Thomas on CTV Regina
Molly Thomas, when she was co-host of the popular CTV Regina Morning LIVE.
(Photo Credit: Brennan Neufeld)

Thomas says she has always had a passion for reporting abroad. Even in her U of R days, she dreamed of being a foreign correspondent.

“I am fascinated by the prospect of telling stories around the globe. I come from a multicultural family. My father is from Malaysia and my mother is from India. They immigrated here and have taken us to different places in the world and exposed us to poverty and to injustices,” says Thomas.

Thomas first got her chance to report in an international setting thanks to two scholarships provided by the School of Journalism.

The Ron Robbins Traveling Scholarship and the CIDA Development Scholarship sent Thomas to Rwanda and Uganda for 6 months.

Since then, she has reported from post-earthquake Haiti and London for the 2012 Olympics. Last spring, she was in Northern Iraq and Jordan documenting the plight of internally displaced people and refugees due to ISIS.

Most recently, she was in New York covering the Pope’s address to the UN and just came back from Paris after the recent attacks. Her feature “Pray for Paris, can be seen here.

For now, Thomas is focused on completing her studies at the U of T with an eye on a more integrated future.

“Storytelling will always be my first love and I will use it wherever I go, but in a changing world of technology, there are so many new places beyond traditional newsrooms to use your journalism skills.”  

Those storytelling skills were built 5 years ago in the Adhum building, in the School of Journalism, and for that reason, the U of R will always feel like home.

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