Fernwood — A student at Prince Edward Island’s Holland College is being pre-considered for an Atlantic Journalism Award after he found a phone number in an actual physical phone book made of paper from trees that grow in the ground.
Bryce Tremble, 19, always dreamed of being an investigative journalist. “And now I know I have the chops for it,” he said, beaming with pride. “If I can track down a single phone number among, like, probably thousands or whatever, then who knows what other great things I’m capable of?”
Six journalism students were asked to open a phone book and locate number in the small community of Fernwood, P.E.I. Tremble succeeded in only 43 minutes, while the other 5 students appeared confused, and then asked to be excused to go home for the day to reconsider their academic direction.
“I never dared to think any of them would succeed,” confided teacher Andrew Matheson. “It was just supposed to be an exercise demonstrating how much millennials rely on Google and social media for all their research. But then this happened. Is it because of my teaching? Maybe. It seems like at least something I’ve said has sunk in.”
AJA committee head Kelly Richardson said they normally do not reveal award recipients or contenders until the actual ceremony in May, and submissions aren’t even accepted until Dec. 1, but an exception is in order in this case. “Let’s be honest here; this was an amazing feat,” she said. “Unless some other journalist finds a way to turn back time, then tracks down Osama bin Laden, turns him in and writes a groundbreaking exposé, this kid is a shoo-in.”
Tremble said that he’s already begun writing his acceptance speech for the awards ceremony taking place in St. John’s, NL next spring, and that he’s cutting his education short to pursue a full-time career.
“All the major news outlets have been contacting me, basically trying to poach me,” he said. “I’ll go with whichever one needs the most phone numbers found. Watch out, world!”