Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Press box etiquette

During the past few months, I've had the pleasure of interning with the Winnipeg Jets and hanging around the press box at the MTS Centre.

One important thing I've picked up is press box etiquette. You see, I've been to both Leafs games (You all know how big of a fan I am), but I've never gotten up and cheered...but I will admit I did do a small fist pump.

When you are surrounded by media professionals and players from both teams, it seems inappropriate to celebrate or watch the game as a "fan." However, there have been times when different people have gotten up and cheered, or boo'd, or showed their displeasure for a call...and to be honest, it felt really weird.

You are supposed to look and act professionally there and when I see people yelling and screaming, it comes off wrong.

So if you ever have the chance to watch a Winnipeg Jets game from the press box, have fun. But don't come off as that crazed fan, because it is not the place to act like one.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Insiders and Sources

Being a sports fan, you hear insiders reference their "sources" all the time...with them being wrong most of the time. And most notably, a big NHL television personality went on the radio about a month back saying Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry wouldn't be re-signing with the team.

Now, he is one of the most respected analysts in the game, but all he said was that "sources" told him it wouldn't happen. Fast-forward to Monday night and news broke that Corey Perry did in fact choose to re-sign with Anaheim. Whoops.

One thing that has always bugged me about sports journalism has been the "sources." With the NHL trade deadline soon approaching, the three major sports networks (TSN, Sportsnet and The Score) will have their top analysts feeding us rumours from these unnamed sources.

It bugs me because in many cases, they will be wrong during the day and it won't affect anything. The NHL trade deadline is the only example where these journalists can get away with being wrong...not that they try to. The goal is to break every trade first. And if that means they get it wrong - and I've seen them get it wrong many times - then so be it.

As an aspiring sports journalist, I can't stand it...but I also understand the importance of being first on days like the trade deadline. It's really hit and miss. Sports journalism is just a different kind of beast.

Monday, March 11, 2013


It seems like it was years ago when I finally got my IPP, I've Seen the Elephant accepted. Well, it's March and in two days I'll be presenting my IPP at the Convention Centre.

It was a great experience to write a book, edit it, lay it out on InDesign and then host a book launch. I couldn't have done it without the help of Duncan McMonagle and Diane Livingston.

While the IPPP's aren't the end of CreComm, it feels like they are. Anyways, I hope y'all can come out to the Convention Centre on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to see the great work CreCommers have done over the past year.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Have You Seen Candace?

Over the past two years, I've had a chance to learn about Candace Derksen and her disappearance by reading Journey for Justice and Have You Seen Candace?

The story has struck me personally, because I lived near the area where Candace disappeared and it shows that actions like these are not just happening in the core of Winnipeg. Sadly, tragedies like this can happen anywhere.

Although it's hard to choose a book, I felt like I connected more with Wilma's because it was much more personal. It's hard for anyone to get much more personal than writing about their child's death.

I also feel that Mike's book was dry when the focus went on Mark Grant and some of the trial.

Journalists can learn that while it's hard to approach a family that has lost a child, or any other family member in such a terrible way, many people want to get tell their story. So while it may be hard to ask the tough questions, or gather courage to go to their house, or make that phone call, the families of victims usually want to talk to the media and tell them about their family member they lost - and Wilma made that clear when she talked to us last Tuesday.

Wilma's visit was much better this year than last. While I really enjoyed Mike's presence last year, I felt he overshadowed Wilma - and personally - I wanted to hear Wilma's story more than his.

The most enjoyable part of her visit was hearing her talk about her fears when facing the media. Being a former CreComm student, it was interesting to hear her insight into how she dealt with the media when Candace disappeared and when Mark Grant was on trial. It's really true that CreComm can prepare you for almost any life event - and this was no different for her.

It was also interesting to hear about her two other children and how they reacted to Candace's disappearance and to the trial and conviction of Mark Grant.

Looking back, I would have liked to ask a question to Wilma. While I knew she came to talk to the class knowing we read her book, I still felt like it was a really personal topic and hard to ask a question about Candace. I really admire her coming back every year and telling her story to CreComms.

Monday, February 25, 2013


With CreComm slowly coming to an end, finding a job has been on my mind more than ever. One problem: I don't know what I want to do. Let me rephrase that. I'm not sure which aspect of journalism I want to get into. I've done a lot of print work and I know it better than radio or television, but the job prospects aren't the greatest.

Then you have television which is very hit and miss for me. Some broadcast journalism classes I feel like I get it and everything clicks...then the following week is an absolute disaster. I love anchoring too, but that isn't something that I can make the jump to right out of CreComm. Still very open to a television career.

Finally, we have radio. I love radio. I co-hosted a fantasy sports show with Mr. Mark McAvoy last year and it was honestly one of my favourite things that I did in first year. And with my second work placement being TSN 1290, I hoping to get my foot into the radio side of journalism.

There's a month left of classes and a ton of jobs out there...now it's time to make a big decision and choose what's best for me. I'm starting to feel the pressure.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Custom Publishing

In journalism class this week, we took a different angle and worked on some custom publishing. I can't say it was one of my favourite assignments of the year. In fact, I'd go further and say I strongly dislike customer publishing.

As an aspiring journalist, there's nothing worse than writing a piece that a company has paid for. And for my assignment, I had to write a "story" on a local business as if they were paying for it.

Now this wasn't no ordinary story. I had to puff up the ego's of the client and make them look like they were the best thing since sliced bread. No interviews and no getting two sides of the story. Nothing. Just make the business look good.

Now I have no problem going out to a restaurant or seeing a show and writing a nice review if I had a good experience. But this is a totally different beast.

Custom publishing has been becoming more and more frequent in journalism in the past few years and frankly I'm not a big fan of it. I did a lot of similar stories in Portage when I was at the Daily Graphic and those stories aren't ones that I'd put in my portfolio.

It's not that it's poor writing - it's just that they feel so fake to me. Going to businesses and getting owners to tell me how great they think their work is isn't something I find particularly compelling as a reader or writer.

As someone who wants to be in this business a long time, I'm hoping that papers find different ways of bringing in revenue and don't solely rely on this method to bring in cash.

These advertorials don't evoke any passion, emotion, or anything that made me fall in love with journalism in the first place.

But that's just my take though.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The diet of a journalist

Journalism life is busy for the most part and getting a having a proper diet is tough.

It's hard to have that balance of healthy food and fast food when getting fast food is so much quicker and convenient.

During my summer internship at the Portage Daily Graphic, I would be on the road close to three hours a day. I didn't have time to make a lunch or even eat a dinner in the evening. Most times, I would be stuck eating Tim's or Subway mid-afternoon with the odd snack. Safe to say that it didn't help my waist line over the summer months.

But it's not always about having to eat bad food. There are days where you don't get to eat until the evening. During most broadcast journalism Thursday's, I don't always get the time to eat. Is it partially my fault? Yes. But with the hectic schedule of a journalist (whether it's print, radio, television, etc), it's not always easy to get the right number of meals in during the day.

And with limited healthy options for snacks and meals out there, it doesn't make it any easier to get the proper nutrition your body needs.

For example, the last month at the Phoenix Sinclair inquiry and Law Courts, I ate Boston Pizza three times and pub food the other. Not to say I didn't enjoy the food, because I did, but it's so easy to get caught up in a bad diet when you're on a deadline.

So after I finish CreComm and get my first true journalism job (fingers crossed), the first goal is to become a much more responsible eater and to save the beers and pizza for the weekends.