Posts Tagged ‘ College ’

Here’s the Thing About Journalism

Since I first began in CreComm over a year ago now, I’ve learned a hell of a lot about journalism along the way.  I’ve learned good things, I’ve learned bad things, and I’ve learned things that are just good to know.  But the fact remains: you can only learn so much about anything in a classroom.  I’ve long been a believer that school only gives you the tools you need to be competent in the real world, and that the majority of your actual learning will happen when you’re out of school and into a job.

This concept certainly held true last night.  I was working for the Winnipeg Free Press, on an election night intern opportunity, and this was something that I had done before, during the 2010 Civic Election.  Exact same job, two very different experiences.  Last night I was set up in Karen Velthuys’ (PC) headquarters in St. Norbert.  For those who followed the results of the election last night, St. Norbert ended up being one of, if not the, closest race of the entire election.

Working for the Free Press means my submission needs to be timely, and you’d better believe there’s a deadline.  It’s really not cool for me to single-handedly muddy the reputation of the city’s most prestigious newspaper.  So, in preparation of the night’s events, I wrote out a template for a PC victory, with blanks that I would fill in with a couple of things like quotes, and specific numbers.  I wrote one that I would submit to be published immediately on the WFP website (called a webbie) and another one that would be published in the paper the next day.

As the night progressed, Dave Gaudreau of the NDP pulled ahead.  Now I’m nervous.  An NDP victory would mean I’d have to hop in my car and drive over to his headquarters instead and get a quote from him.  Beginning to sweat, I pulled out my laptop and wrote another webbie for an NDP victory, as well as a paper copy version.  I’ve now got four different variations of stories that I’ve written for the night.  Want to take a guess at which ones I ended up using?

Correct!  None of them!

I was in frequent communication with WFP editor, Bartley Kives, and during one of our last phone conversations he told me he’d be sending another reporter to the NDP headquarters just to be safe.  By this time, the St. Norbert race was so close that a winner simply couldn’t be safely predicted.

In the end, the NDP ended up winning St. Norbert, and now there was already another reporter at his headquarters.  So I called up Mr. Kives, and asked what he’d have me do.  I tell him I have quotes from Karen Velthuys, and he asks me to just “send along a quote, and add a little bit of colour”.  Yes sir, Mr. Kives, sir.

So, Starbucks is closed by now, it’s around 11:00 p.m., but I drive over there anyways because I imagine they maybe leave their wi-fi on for me to mooch.  Wrong.

So, no template to use for this one, I write out my story on my iPhone.  Yes, my iPhone, I didn’t even have the convenience of a full-keyboard BlackBerry for this venture.  It was only about 174 words, but trust me, at the speed I was typing, my iPhone made those 174 words seem like 1,000.

What I learned last night, is exactly what I already knew.  School only teaches you so much.  Classmates; how many times have we been told to expect the unexpected in journalism?  To be prepared to change our plans on the fly?  It doesn’t matter.  You haven’t learned that until you’ve learned it.  Out there.

I also had a great time last night, which surprised me.  It was an odd feeling, to be panicking and stressing so hard, but as soon as I hit ‘send’ on my email to Bart Kives, I actually almost said out loud, “Huh… That was pretty fun.”  I actually surprised myself.

And so, I will leave you with this one tidbit of information regarding journalism that you can try to remember all you want, but (un?)forunately it is something you will simply need to learn on your own, as we all do.

Plan for the worst, and hope for the best.

(You can check out my WFP story here.  I now go by my middle name of “Staff” and married a beautiful young woman and took her last name of “Writer”.  Apparently lots of men are doing it nowadays.  Also, I am not responsible for the misspelling of Velthuys in the second graf.  Enjoy.)


Major Headache

This is exaggerated. I'm really not stressing quite as hard as this young boy here.

As most of you probably know by now, Journalism is out for me as a major next year. If you don’t know, click here.

I’ve exhausted three contacts and four attempts to smash my way into the J major, to no avail. While I may yet try a formal appeal as a last ditch effort, the time I’ve had to sit with my “situation” has me feeling a little bit differently these days.

At first I felt slighted and very “Bret Hart at Survivor Series ’97” about the whole thing. But the fact of the matter is that I’m already well on my way in the Journalism field, and perhaps it’s actually in my best interest that I focus on something else for a major.

Where does the headache come in, you ask? Let me tell you; I also chose Broadcast Journalism as an elective, so in order to keep that, I’d have to choose Media Production as a major. I have absolutely no interest in radio though, and while I have a little bit more interest in TV, it just barely beats out radio. I’ve also got a video documentary on my plate for my IPP, so that would just be more Media Production than I could handle in one year.

Public Relations was my very first, instinctual thought when I found out I couldn’t take Journalism. I’ve always fared well in PR, and, not counting event-planning, I enjoy the writing style of PR as well (news releases, pitch letters, etc). And we’ve all heard the running joke multiple times in first year, that journalists jump over to PR when they decide they “want to make money”, and movies like Page One: Inside the New York Times scare the shit out of me as a journalist. I’m in the magazine field at the moment, but those will be next to go once the newspaper goes the way of the dinosaur.

Advertising was never even on my plate until I suddenly realized recently that I actually enjoyed it. The “book learnin'” side of anything is never my strong-suite and that definitely goes for Advertising as well, but overall I did well in the course and actually enjoyed the assignments. Working on ads with InDesign was actually something I could willingly sink hours into, and not go out of my mind with boredom. I’m far from talented with the program, but I can produce B-worthy creations, and as an F-student for the better part of my school-life… yeah, I’ll take it.

Now ready yourselves, because I’m about to go full-dweeb on you (I’ll throw some curse words in there though, to try to keep an even plane). I feel like I’m a goddamn Hogwarts student and these four majors are the four houses in the school. And I wish I could just put on some raggedy-ass hat that would make the decision for me (I could let it smell me and it would put me into Journalism though).

So while I stew over my future at RRC, I turn the microphone over to you. Got a strong case for a particular major? Tell it in the comments. But at the very least, show some love to the poll and let’s see which major’s got the most love behind it!


Welcome to my new and improved blog, Journo JT!

I have officially severed ties with my old hub, Wrestle-Writing in Winnipeg, and have decided to evolve into much broader spectrum of topics and interests.  The reason for this switch is simple: Wrestling doesn’t define me.  My passion defines me.  And so this blog will serve as a much more enjoyable (and readable, in my opinion) medium on which I will shout to the world.

I am currently employed as an intern editor at a magazine publisher, where I will work for the remainder of the summer, before heading back to Red River College for my second year in the Creative Communications program.  As this is my first real step into the world of Journalism as a living, I plan on documenting my experiences as I dive head first into my field of choice; the good and the bad.

While I will still be frequently blogging about Pro Wrestling, I will now be able to focus on a much wider variety of things; my interests, my life, my goals, my dreams, the people who try to crush them, and their inevitable failures.  Newcomers are welcome and invited to subscribe to the blog, and can also feel free to check me out on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.

My Red Wings were snuffed out of the NHL Playoffs last night, after suffering a crushing Game 7 defeat in the Western Conference semi-final.  Now we’re down to four, as Tampa Bay/Boston will take play tomorow evening, and Vancouver/San Jose will face off on Sunday.  With the Wings gone, I think I must now align with Tampa Bay, as this year they’re headed up by a new GM in my favourite player of all time, Steve Yzerman.  Would be nice to see him win the big one once again.

Any hockey fans out there?  Who are you betting on this weekend?