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Francine Pelletier was only 15 when she enrolled in university. But it wasn’t until years later that she found her true calling.
“Journalism came and grabbed me by the collar through the women’s movement,” Pelletier said in a phone interview.
“I was able to combine two dreams of mine: the one to write and the one to be socially active.”
Pelletier arrives at St. Thomas University this week as the Irving Chair in Journalism.
She will be at STU for two months, and plans to work with students through various workshops and lectures.
“The only thing I can hope to bring is my experience,” Pelletier said.
“Perhaps some will be able to learn from my experiences, and perhaps I will be able to help them wade through the choices that any young person must make when starting to think about a career or profession.”
Pelletier has been a documentary filmmaker for over 10 years, which has allowed her to “analyze situations and devise strategies.”
Prior to her work as a filmmaker, Pelletier spent several years as both a print and electronic media journalist for different publications and programs, including the Montreal Gazette and CBC’s The Fifth Estate. Her career began after completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Ottawa, and her Masters in English at the University of Alberta.
After she discovered her love for writing and feminism, she co-founded and became the editor-in-chief of the women’s monthly magazine La Vie en Rose.
Refusing to shy away from their personal views, Pelletier and her fellow writers at La Vie en Rose strove to create a press that was factual yet did not pretend to not be opinionated.
The magazine featured many editorials and essays, as opposed to pure news reporting. But after the magazine ended, Pelletier found herself concerned for her career.
“The thing I feared most after leaving my bubble was that I would be targeted negatively as a feminist,” Pelletier said.
“I feared that my reputation would somehow be tarnished.”
However, her outspoken past ended up working in her favour.
Entering the mainstream media in the late 80s, Pelletier discovered a world where the woman’s movement had been recognized as one of the most important social movements of the last half-century.
“I ended up getting one of the prime journalism jobs in Canada with The Fifth Estate,” Pelletier said.
“So while my outspokenness on my views may change how I am perceived, I think it has helped me more than it has hindered me.”
Pelletier held a meet and greet yesterday.