Ramna Shahzad

Multimedia Journalist

Ryerson broadcast News Radio March 28th — April 11, 2014

Ryerson broadcast News Radio March 28th

Hosts Ramna Shahzad and Billy Diep.

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First direct flight to Canada from Saudi Arabia lands in Toronto — January 17, 2014

First direct flight to Canada from Saudi Arabia lands in Toronto

Ramna Shahzad

The Globe and Mail
Home» Report on Business» International Business

RAMNA SHAHZAD
TORONTO — The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Oct. 28 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

The first direct flight from Saudi Arabia landed Monday morning at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, becoming the fourth Gulf airline operating flights to Canada.

The Saudia plane – a Boeing 777-200 – was greeted on the tarmac with a customary first-flight water salute from fire trucks.

The Saudi national carrier will have three direct flights to Toronto each week.

The company says the Toronto flights will serve different groups of passengers, including Saudi students in Canada and Canadians who travel to the kingdom each year for hajj and umrah pilgrimages Last year more than three million people performed the hajj, including an estimated 3,400 Canadians. Another 4,000 Canadians performed the umrah.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there…

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Street Art Toronto: Outside the Box — January 14, 2014
Social Media and Politics: Engaging the Youth — January 9, 2014

Social Media and Politics: Engaging the Youth

“The new public square is online, that’s where people engage and connect and communicate,” said Justin Trudeau after winning leadership of the Ontario Liberal Party on April 14.

With over 500 million registered Twitter accounts and over a billion people on Facebook, social media has proven to be one of the most effective means of communication in today’s digital age. The majority of young Canadians are using social media regularly and it is seen as an essential tool in the world of politics and a possible solution to the disengagement of youth in politics.

According to the Parliament of Canada website, there has been a marked decline in voter turnout among young Canadians within the last 20 years. Less than 40% of voters in the age group of 18-24 year olds voted in the last Federal elections in 2011, according to the iPolitics website.

Social media has proven effective in many successful politicians’ campaigns. Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign used social media platforms to engage and mobilize voters. The Outbound Director of Obama’s campaign, Laura Olin, said to NMR, “Social media had a huge influence in helping us get out the vote, raise money and persuade people to support the president.”

The newly elected leader of the Liberals, Justin Trudeau, has a social media campaign mimicking that of Barack Obama’s, CBC reports. A message by Justin Trudeau on his Liberal leadership campaign website is directed towards young Canadians, according to CTV news. It says, “There are a lot of people who think that students don’t care about the world beyond their textbooks. And I know that’s not true. I know it because I’ve met you, I’ve talked with you, we’ve tweeted back and forth and, most importantly, I’ve listened to what you have to say.”

However, despite proving effective in various campaigns, social media brings with its own set of problems for politicians and disinterested youth. Trudeau, who regularly updates his Twitter and Facebook, criticized Obama for not maintaining his social media presence after he won his presidential campaign.

Steven Goetz is the social media and communications manager of Student Vote, an organization that provides mock elections to students close to voting age across Canada to engage their interest in politics and increase voter turnout. He said that while no organization that wants to reach people would ignore social media, there is no direct correlation between trying to reach young people on social media and actually increasing numbers of turnout.

“It’s not clear how effective social media is at mobilizing people and getting them to go out and act on something,” Goetz said.

He also said people end up gathering with like-minded people online which doesn’t lead to any sort of debate and alter people’s perspective or open their minds to new actions. “So you can get hundreds of likes on a picture on Facebook but they are most likely people who already agree with you not people you have converted or gathered towards your cause,” said Goetz.

As a young student studying politics, Umair Ahmed, 19, says that a problem he faces with social media is the spreading of inaccurate information online.

“The onus is on the reader to make an informed decision,” he said, “anyone has the ability to put information online since the internet started to rise.”

Justin Trudeau and social media:
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First direct flight to Canada from Saudi Arabia lands in Toronto —

First direct flight to Canada from Saudi Arabia lands in Toronto

The Globe and Mail
Home» Report on Business» International Business

RAMNA SHAHZAD
TORONTO — The Canadian Press
Published Monday, Oct. 28 2013, 1:20 PM EDT

The first direct flight from Saudi Arabia landed Monday morning at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, becoming the fourth Gulf airline operating flights to Canada.

The Saudia plane – a Boeing 777-200 – was greeted on the tarmac with a customary first-flight water salute from fire trucks.

The Saudi national carrier will have three direct flights to Toronto each week.

The company says the Toronto flights will serve different groups of passengers, including Saudi students in Canada and Canadians who travel to the kingdom each year for hajj and umrah pilgrimages Last year more than three million people performed the hajj, including an estimated 3,400 Canadians. Another 4,000 Canadians performed the umrah.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, there were more than 14,000 Saudi students enrolled in Canadian educational institutions last year.

With the launch of the Toronto service, Saudia will become the fourth Gulf airline operating flights to Canada after Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

All three airlines have been demanding additional landing rights and Ottawa’s refusal to allow more flights led to a bitter diplomatic row between Canada and the United Arab Emirates two years ago.

Relations have improved dramatically in the past year and visa restrictions imposed on Canadian travellers by the UAE at the height of the crisis were lifted a few months ago although no changes in landing rights were announced.

Emirates and Etihad fly three times a week to Toronto while Qatar Airways has three flights a week to Montreal.

Howard Bohan, vice-president of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, said the direct Saudi flights were incredibly important to Toronto.

“Direct service between Toronto and Saudi Arabia three times a week will give passengers great new access to this part of the world.”

____

Written for The Canadian Press, the story was also picked up by CBC, CTV, Macleans and several other news outlets.