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Campus Celebrity: The Universal Translator

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Ottawa chapter.

For the second installment in our “behind-the-scenes” look into the world of advertising, we’re featuring an interview with our second client, The Universal Translator. If you are just tuning in now, please check out our blog post describing the assignment, or our first #CampusCelebrity article about our first client. This week, we interviewed Christopher Brennan and Veronica Grajewski, the co-founders of an online participatory journalism site, called The Universal Translator. Check out the interview below:

Her Campus: How did The Universal Translator (UT) become a company? Where did the idea come from?


Chris & Veronica: The UT was founded last spring. The idea began when we both began to discuss our experiences with the declining effectiveness of the media. Ask anyone in the industry and they’ll tell you that journalism, and modern media, are imploding. Very few journalists are able to find sustainable careers. I, Christopher, had been independently researching the problem for a while before I met Veronica. We hadn’t been working together for long before we became determined to step up and turn our ideas into a reality.


HC: Can you give us a brief description of what exactly The UT is?

C & V: The UT is a participatory journalism site. It’s designed to encourage intelligent discussion, idea sharing, and literacy. We use a revenue sharing system to pay top writers up to $300 per week. 


 HC: What exactly are your roles? Can you give us a brief description of what you both do for the company?


C & V: We’re officially both founders and directors of the UT. Our practical roles are pretty much identical, we both invested in the sites production, we collaborated on everything from the page designs to the site’s branding. We both promote the site within our social circles, and we both pay the bills.


HC: What kinds of topics can we expect to read about on The UT? 

C & V: Any topic is welcome on the UT. Although its focus is currently politics, the participatory journalism format can be used for a huge range of topics


HC: Who can write articles on The UT? Can anyone make an account and participate or do you have a certain target audience in mind?


C & V: Anyone is welcome to post an article on the UT as long as they sign in with a Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ account. 


HC: How do people get involved? Are accounts free to make? 

C & V: Getting involved is simple- users just sign in and create a profile. Accounts are free, however in order to participate in the site’s revenue sharing program, there is a monthly subscription fee of $15 ($17.75 with HST and the stripe fee). 



Christopher and Veronica

HC: Do you have any events coming up in the near future?

C & V: On March 24th 2015, at 1pm, we will be hosting an open discussion on the topic of guaranteed income programs. That is our scheduled launch event, but we expect to host other similar events subsequently. 


HC: If people want more information on The UT, how can they contact you? 

C & V: Anyone looking for more information can either login to the site, visit our Facebook page, or  email us at: theuniversaltranslator@gmail.com. For information on the launch event, they should checkout our Facebook event page.



Photo Credits:

Logo: The Universal Translator

Headshot: Casey-Leigh Majetic


Zoe Crego

U Ottawa '17

Zoë held the position of President of Her Campus at uOttawa from 2015-2017 and was a Senior Chapter Advisor. She graduated from the University of Ottawa in 2017 and has pursued a career in the Canadian federal public service. She is very grateful to Her Campus for providing a creative outlet while studying and believes her experience with Her Campus helped her grow professionally and personally.    
I transferred to uOttawa in September of 2013 from the beautiful University of British Columbia. But don't let that introduction fool you, I'm from Nova Scotia.  I like dresses, I like the Toronto Raptors, I like Christmas, I like bread, I like online shopping, I like Mindy Kaling and I like penguins.