IP Intensive: IP issues in journalism - A semester at The Globe and Mail

As an editor of my student newspaper in undergrad, part of me always wanted to be a journalist. Maybe it was just my love of coffee and staying up late.

But if you’d told me a few years ago that I could spend an entire semester of law school in the heart of a buzzing newsroom at one of the country’s most respected media companies, my answer would probably have been, “no way.” Yet that is exactly where I found myself this past September as I began my ten-week placement at The Globe and Mail as part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program.

The Globe’s offices on Front Street are something of a time capsule, the walls adorned with pictures of historic moments and framed editions of the paper from decades past. A vault-sized safe beside my desk contains many well-preserved artifacts, including a bill of sale transferring ownership of the newspaper in the nineteenth century and the handgun famously used by a disgruntled Globe employee to shoot the predecessor paper’s founder, George Brown, in 1880.

Such iconic moments gave a sense of heft and significance to the organization, but there proved to be little time to sit around and stare at the walls. At The Globe, I was expected to do real work from day one. And while I came in anticipating to do a fair amount of IP-related work—and I did—what impressed me the most was the vast range of corporate-commercial work, from advertising, information technology, to civil disputes, in addition to copyright, trademark and, to some degree, patent work.

As an intern in a four-person legal department, I was on the front lines by necessity. That meant, for example, liaising with the business unit responsible for a third party vendor contract, working with the advertising department to ensure a Globe subscriber survey is compliant with anti-spam law, and serving as the point of contact for external counsel for defamation law matters. Sometimes all in the same day!

The level of responsibility I was trusted with at The Globe allowed me to see firsthand the inner workings of a world-class media organization with a thriving, engaged readership and a great digital strategy. To say that you cannot get this type of experience in law school would be a huge understatement. As in-house counsel, it is not simply your job to tell the organization what the law is, but rather to ensure that legal advice is implemented in a way that fits within the company’s overall strategic and business goals. This interplay between law and business breathed life into my legal studies in a way classroom learning is unable to do.

While the work itself was fulfilling, I was equally impressed with the organizational culture and camaraderie at The Globe. Memorable highlights include a Halloween costume competition, champagne-assisted going away parties, and a healthy dose of charity raffles. You get the sense that employees at The Globe enjoy not only what they do, but the people they do it with.

As The Globe prepares to move into a brand new home on the east side of downtown later in 2016, I feel incredibly privileged to have been with this organization in the last moments of the historic Front Street offices it has inhabited since 1974.

I want to thank my supervisors at The Globe and all the individuals who made my experience so rewarding and fulfilling. The opportunity to participate in the IP Intensive has truly been one of the highlights of my law school career.

And for this one-time student journalist, it has shown me that maybe you can have the best of both worlds.

 

Brendan Monahan is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *