Start Your Story: Martha Darby's Greatest Takeaway from MMJC was Learning Advanced Writing Skills

By Shanlee McLennan

Martha's hometown: Kimberley, Ontario

A new home, new challenges and new friends. Martha Darby found everything she was looking for at Western.

---

Martha Darby was ready for a change. After completing a degree in journalism from Carleton University in 2011, she was looking to experience a new city and explore the communications field. She found the perfect opportunity at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western University, where she was a part of the inaugural Master of Media in Journalism and Communication class.

It was the internship component of MMJC that drew Martha to the program—it was also her internship that ignited her passion for non-profit work. Once she finished the in-class portion of the program at Western, Martha began interning with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

While working for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Martha discovered her love for social media and landed herself a full-time job as the Associate Manager of Digital Marketing for the next three years. Fresh out of her master’s program, Martha found herself running campaigns with massive budgets and in charge of pages with over 600,000 followers.

Fun Fact

Martha and her coworkers had a 2020 challenge to read 12 books from various categories such as books by Indigenous authors, a book about something that scares them, or a book with a pretty cover.


Although that responsibility may be daunting to a new grad, Martha felt prepared to handle the task. She says the skills she learned in Western’s journalism and communication program allowed her to be the go-to person when people were looking for help related to media. “Those skills are invaluable,” she says, and they opened the door for many different professional opportunities within her line of work.

Martha now works for the Toronto Public Library Foundation, a place where she says her love for books and her career in non-profit work are seamlessly combined. As an avid library user, the opportunity to work there was one she couldn’t pass up. Her daily tasks range from event planning and email marketing to social media and content creation. In her spare time, she takes advantage of the wealth of knowledge she has access to in order to learn more about the communications field.

“The internship with MMJC was the open door I needed to start my career in non-profit work and was instrumental in me figuring out what I wanted to do. I love it. It gives me purpose, and I can't think of a more rewarding career.”

Not a day goes by that she doesn’t use something that she learned during her time in the MMJC. Her greatest takeaway? Writing.

“MMJC gives you the discipline you need and teaches you really good, succinct writing”.

Martha looks back on her time in the program fondly, recalling the best memories to be after-hours work sessions in the studio, laughing with her classmates. Though she didn’t choose to do it in her career, she says the adrenaline rush she got whenever she was behind a camera interviewing people about their passions and interests was an incredible feeling.

The MMJC program has allowed many students to launch successful careers in journalism, communications, marketing and other media-focused industries. If you’re interested in starting your media career, apply to Western’s MMJC program to Start Your Story!

Profiles in the Start Your Story blog are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.