Monday, 25 March 2013

Have a little faith

I am a firm believer that everyone needs something to believe in, something to hold on to when times are rough and it feels like there's no hope. But it doesn't have to be a religious figure. I can't say specifically what I believe in - they tend to vary depending on different situations in my life.

My family is Buddhist, but my cousins and I don't go to the Temple except for important reasons. One of them was my grandmother's death in 2002.

Other than that, my brushes with religion have been in thin, nonexistent strokes.

My good friend Kirah and I attended a service at Unity Church last night after deciding we wanted to uncover the truth behind the sensationalized religion of Spiritualism and practice of Wicca. I can't speak for my fellow journalist-in-training, but I had secretly and foolishly anticipated solemn-looking people dressed in head-to-toe black, remaining tight-lipped and vague about their faith. We got the exact opposite.

We were especially shocked to meet Rachel, the "resident witch" at Unity Church and the main character in our news story. A pretty young woman with flowing brown and blond hair, Rachel didn't look like a witch with her pink off-the-shoulder top and black tights.

"We definitely don't have green faces and ride around on brooms and have black cats," she laughed, batting her dramatically long eyelashes. "We deal with the natural, not hocus pocus."

Rachel talked to us about her services at Unity Church; soul paintings, psychometry, and mediumship were her main duties. No bubble, toil or trouble here, just impressions based on energy and vibrations.

We told her she was doing a good thing talking to us and dispelling misconceptions that many (including myself) hold about Wicca. After her interview, we immediately sensed that she regretted talking to us. That was how we got our story angle.

"You know, nobody even knows I do this," she said out of the blue, flipping through her sketchbook of soul paintings.

Wicca, otherwise known as witchcraft, developed in England in the first half of the 20th century. From 1991 to 2001, Wicca was the fastest growing religion at 280%. Over 21,000 Canadians called themselves Wiccan.

People weren't accepting of witchcraft and witches then. But even now, there's a stigma. And Rachel is afraid of what her workplace, neighbours, and people within her social circles will say when (if) this story ends up on the CBC website.

"Just do us some dignity," she jokingly pled.

Have a little faith in us, Rachel.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Family, friends, and a film festival

This will be the last time I write about my Independent Professional Project, Stories from Cambodia, I promise. I just need to write about the whirlwind of events so that I can always refer back knowing I captured the day while it's still fresh in my mind.

I attended the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Film Festival on Sunday night with my parents and cousins. I also invited my significant other and several friends. To those that couldn't come but expressed their interest and sorrow for missing out, I appreciate it. But I will discuss this later on.

When I arrived to Cinematheque for the festival, the lobby was fairly empty at first. Seeing that made my heart plummet, my fears of no one showing up surfaced, but I intended to make the most of it because (as I have been reminded by my loved ones over and over again) this was my moment and I should not let anything or anyone (or lack thereof) bring me down.

Jaimz of the Winnipeg Film Group handed me my delegate pass and four tickets free of charge for my parents and cousins. Initially worried and dreading the festival, I felt an immediate sense of accomplishment when I donned the delegate pass around my neck.

We went into the small, dark theatre where several other people had been sitting for a while. Once I saw the makings of an audience forming, I breathed a small sigh of relief and began to relax. Slowly, more film-goers filled the theatre.

Here's something that I did not expect to happen to that night. With the lobby filled with people, an employee announced that the tickets were sold out. Disappointment and confusion were the main emotions in the lobby, but I couldn't have been more thrilled. I'll explain in a few more paragraphs.

At a little past 4:00 p.m., the festival began - and my documentary was first. No matter how many times I have had to watch my work back, it does not get easier to review the final product, noticing flaws and should-haves and should-not-haves. I know I didn't make a perfect documentary, but I think I did a decent job overall.

The next three documentaries were interesting. Respectively, they were about an artist from Bosnia, a group of refugees from Bhutan adjusting to life in Canada (with a humourous scene on how to use toilet paper), and violence against farmers in Zimbabwe. They were all informative and personal, and it was an absolute honour to be in the same category with such talented individuals.

Afterwards, Jaimz called the filmmakers up to the stage to answer questions the audience may have. The woman who made the documentary about violence against farmers in Zimbabwe got the most questions, as expected, because her film had more drama and gruesome graphics. I applauded her use of visuals as it was something that my own video lacked. I did get to answer one question from a nice woman though.

At the end of the festival, Jaimz announced that there would be a second screening since so many people had shown up. Amazing! I'll have to wait for details as they are pending and not concrete.

Exiting the theatre, I was approached by several people who commented on my video, including someone who just applied for Creative Communications and asked for my advice. It's funny to see this whole experience come full circle.

When I asked my parents what they thought of the festival, my dad said nonchalantly, "Yeah, not bad." Knowing him, that's a pretty positive response.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Hunting for news

Looking for news content is hard.

How does one begin to find a story short of relying on news releases? My friend Kristy wrote a blog post a while ago discussing the same thing but that is where the similarities end. She has a solution - to keep your eyes open, walk around, talk to people, and jot notes. I'm still trying to fine-tune my nose for news.

I read articles such as this one, and it makes me think, "Wow! How did they ever discover such a bizarre phenomenon?" And why would kids swallow magnets? Gross.

When I go news-hunting, the stories I find in comparison are pretty banal and predictable. A kid got recruited to a college basketball team. This immigrant learning centre is switching locations. A school got their first defibrillator. And those came from news releases I stumbled upon.

One day, I'd like to report on a story of my very own. Something I found without the help of a PR person. Something out of the ordinary. One day, my news-sniffin' nose will get me there.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Have You Seen Candace?

Have You Seen Candace?, a non-fiction book, details years of pain and questions regarding the disappearance and murder of a child from the perspective of Wilma Derksen, a Creative Communications graduate, writer, and - most importantly - mother of Syras, Odia, and Candace Derksen.

What works in this book by Wilma Derksen is the honesty. And I don't mean honesty as in every single detail in the book is 100% true - not to doubt Wilma's recollection of the events or credibility as a storyteller, of course.

I mean that Wilma's writing is honest, raw, and unapologetic. She lays out the facts like a true journalist, but she doesn't hesitate to provide the details of her maternal psyche. For example, on page 20, when the cops insist that Candace had run away because Wilma and Cliff are overbearing, religious parents, Wilma explains her hurt and anger:
"How incredibly naive we'd been! The minute they caught the slightest whiff of our religious background, especially the words Mennonite and pastor, they instantly classified us as fanatical, over-religious hypocrites. Maybe they even believed we used religion as a cover for deviant behavior. I wouldn't normally have cared about their skepticism, but our daughter's life depended on their believing us. We had to convince them."
That is just one example, but her thoughts and feelings are seamlessly but prominently laced throughout the book that remind the reader that this is not just a plot but an actual account of a mother's suffering.  One such example is her uncharacteristic desire to shoot the person who murdered her daughter. In class, she had confessed to still having those thoughts, and she laughed about it too. That is what I love about the book - her honest feelings towards the whole situation, holy or not, are permanently printed for all to see. Her vulnerability is truly admirable.

And that is something journalists can learn from the book - to feel something when they write their stories. I know that we are supposed to remain fair and balanced when reporting - and don't worry, I still think that - but passion and emotion make a story so much more interesting. Being fair and balanced doesn't mean void of emotion. I realize not every story will have some sort of sentimental calibur, but it's just something to keep in mind.

What doesn't work in the book at times is the flashbacks. I appreciate Wilma's anecdotes about Candace, but for the most part, while I was reading, they didn't have a monumental affect on me. Candace's personality is definitely captured through these anecdotes, but I wanted the story to keep advancing without constantly stepping into the past.

Having already read Journey for Justice: How 'Project Angel' Cracked the Candace Derksen Case, a true crime book written by Mike McIntyre, last year, I felt I was familiar with the plot and that there would be no surprises. I find Wilma's book, free of legal-speak and psychiatrical clutter, more appealing to read because I am a minimalist, taking in one detail at a time on a single track of thought. I liked Mike's book, don't get me wrong, but Wilma's version is something I could pick up and read again without being bogged down by details that don't necessarily interest or affect me. Mike's book's role to me is an update on the situation which include topics such as Mark Edward Grant's arrest and his history and his medical condition.

When speaking to our class - and at the seminar last year - I was amazed both times by how composed and happy she had appeared. I mentioned earlier that she had made jokes last week which was both sweet but uneasy for me as an audience member. Should I laugh or would that be crossing the line? Where is the line? Instead, I watched her continue her speech, this strong woman made of armour encased in a block of fragile glass.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Stories from everywhere

Today's blog post calls for some shameless self-promotion.

Over the past year or so, I have managed to produce, direct, and write an 11-minute documentary of interviews with my parents about their experience in the Khmer Rouge regime. (Side note: I would have loved to have gone to Cambodia for the project, but I was told it was monsoon season, and um, hello, I ain't rich.) It turned out pretty decent, I think.

After nearly completing it, I sent an email to the Winnipeg Film Group over at Cinematheque, informing them of my project and if they were interested in it to contact me. It was a long shot, and I didn't think they'd respond at such short notice. Their website states that in order to screen something I had to send it a year in advance. I halfheartedly clicked the "send" button, not expecting a reply for a while. Or ever, to be honest.

In the meantime, I scoured the Internet for film festivals to which I would submit. I found several that piqued my interest. The Reel Asian Film Festival, for one, seemed it would be receptive of my documentary on a Cambodian genocide. However, submissions weren't being accepted until March. Onto the next.

The Vancouver International Film Festival also seemed appealing to me. I emailed the contact person - who later told me that I wasn't eligible to participate, being from out of Vancouver and all. Phooey.

And the Female Eye Film Festival cost too much money to enter. ($100 just to submit an application? No way.)

I settled for only the Canada International Film Festival. They were still accepting submissions and it cost only $25 to enter. Not bad.

A week or so later, I received an interesting email.

Jaimz Asmundson from the Winnipeg Film Group wrote, "Hi Cindy, Is your film finished? Could you drop it off this week?"

My clumsy fingers fumbled over the keyboard; in my excitement, I managed to write back, "I will have a final copy for you on Friday."

I have never spent so many hours inside an edit suite at one time. I burned my video onto a DVD, and the next day I gave it to Jaimz at Cinematheque. He didn't give me any indication he was going to screen it any time soon. He promised to watch it and contact me afterwards.

Not even a day later, he emailed me to tell me he wanted to put my documentary in the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Film Festival on March 17. Of course I obliged. It was an absolute honour to be placed in the Stories from New Canadians category among other filmmakers who I was sure had more skill than myself.

Gimme Some Truth is a four-day long festival from March 14 to 17. My own documentary, Stories from Cambodia, is screening on March 17 at 4 p.m. at Cinematheque, 100 Arthur Street. I'd love to see you there.

For more information, visit the Gimme Some Truth website.

Monday, 11 February 2013

The means, but to what end

I recently stumbled upon a letter (and response) that confirmed (and yet somehow soothed) my fears. Someone wrote in,
Dear Cary, 
I spent the last four and a half years studying print journalism in college and watching vacantly as the newspaper/magazine industry crumbled before my eyes. The decline never bothered me. I always figured I had what it takes to get a job even in an extremely competitive market: Before I ever graduated, I had completed four internships at newspapers, magazines and a Web site, published almost a hundred clips (including longer, high-quality pieces), and left a good impression with everyone I worked with. I knew I wanted to be a journalist, and I knew that I wanted to write for a living. 
Now, six months after graduating, my parents still pay my cellphone bill and I am working full-time making ice cream. I make a couple hundred bucks here and there freelancing for a magazine I interned at, but otherwise my “freelance” career, as well as my journalism career, is dead in the water. I find myself despondent and unable to send out any more cover letters, and I can’t find the time or motivation to research a story idea enough to send it to an editor because I assume he or she will simply reject my half-baked idea. I’m panicking, but I fear failure so much that I can’t even get started. Freelancing seems to be my best option career-wise, but I can’t summon the willpower and enthusiasm to do it. Plus, I lost my license to a DUI conviction (that got me fired from one of those newspaper internships), which has immobilized me and left me unable to relocate to a new job until October. The DUI also contributes to my job-hunting anxiety. 
What I see is that my passion for journalism and writing is waning. Working full-time has taught me that work is work and play is play, and that I need to maximize the efficiency of my hours I spend at work in order to maximize how much I can play outside of work. I am looking into jobs in other fields that pay better. Is it healthier to stick it out working at an ice cream store and desperately try to make it as a writer, or should I pursue a career where financial security is more realistic? 
Scared Journalist
And Cary* replied,
Dear Scared Journalist,  
If you are a true journalist, the world is going to kick your ass. If you are a true journalist, you are supposed to be having a hard time. This is how the world makes writers. It kicks their ass long enough that they start finally telling the truth. They just finally give up and start bleating out little truthlets. 
We have applied and applied and applied for jobs and gotten nothing, and then things have been dropped at our feet that we were not sure we wanted but which we accepted because there was nothing else available. We have applied and applied and applied for jobs and been rejected and been forced therefore to work in unsuitable occupations that surprisingly led us to good fortune. We have kept our heads down and crawled forward like G.I.s in Korea. We have alternately railed at the system and begged it for favors and received the same infuriating coolness and indifference either way. We have ranted and we have started movements and we have tried to infiltrate the ranks of journalism as poets and insurrectionists. We have attempted to better our public relations skills. We have tried to network and join organizations. We have bought drinks at bars frequented by journalists and have praised works we detested. We have tried to detect trends and written queries suggesting feature stories about such trends. We have tried to develop specialties and gained immense knowledge of the inconsequential. We have interviewed celebrities and resold the interviews to numerous publications, each paying less than the one before in a vector of diminishment resembling our own entropic trajectory toward death. We have entertained the notion of getting into TV. We have wondered why the best quit or get fired and the mediocre persevere. We have wondered how mediocre we must be if we are still employed. We wonder why so many brilliant writers remain unheard, and why we ourselves were not thrown out long ago. We wonder why we don’t have a six-months cash reserve. We wonder who will save us from our own foolishness. We wonder if maybe there is a God who is quietly taking care of us. We take note of our increasing store of mediocre ideas such as that one. [...] We peruse brochures for MBA programs at prestigious East Coast universities. We think about the exponential growth of creative writing programs. Maybe our skills could be useful in detective work. Maybe we could start our own newsletter. Maybe someone will call today about our résumé.
And then, with the irony that cloaks us against utter nihilism, we think, if only we were living in more interesting times! And that is the confounding thing about it, isn’t it? That we stand on the nodal point of a great, creaking, crunching change in historical direction, at the beginning of cataclysmic planetary collapse, at the dying of civilization, at the rising of new empires, at our own meltdown, as a million stories bloom out of the earth like wildflowers in the spring and we think, gee, uh, if only there were some good stories to tell. [...]
Yeah. That’s the ultimate irony, no? That in the midst of remarkable and unprecedented change, in the midst of the greatest stories to happen all century, we are paralyzed by some changes in the delivery system. Well, we do know, as McLuhan taught us, it is not just the delivery system; paper itself is a kind of message; it tells us that information is permanent, whereas the Net tells us that information is in motion. So the print journalism curriculum may have taught, incorrectly — because it is  taught by ox-cart drivers — that information is permanent, not that it is in motion, and you may well be struggling to throw off that teaching, as perhaps you must if you are to tweet your way to victory. We must ask: If information is in motion, does that make it more or less true? That depends on whether you believe the world is in motion. Obviously the world is in motion. So information must be in motion as well.
So that’s where we’re at. That’s how we are, me included. We stand paralyzed before the fire, like animals watching their habitats burn. I can see what’s happening but am also somewhat paralyzed, doing an essentially 19th-century thing in this 21st century medium. I can scarcely figure out how to download the MP3 of my band from 1983 — but believe me, when I get it together next week, I’ll sell it to you for $1.50 a pop and maybe make enough to pay my cellphone bill.
It’s a weird world but it’s interesting and fun. Fuck the little stuff. Don’t worry about your career. Find a story and write about it, and stay off the streets if you’re drunk.
Right now I'm finishing up the last lap of my academic career in CreComm. The next logical step is to find a job. I'm afraid of ending up like Scared Journalist who apparently took the education but doesn't have an employer to show off to. But the statistics speak for themselves - CreComms are notorious for landing jobs straight out of and occasionally during school. That's one thing I'm (heavily) relying on.

And besides, how could you not find a job in this world? There's one of me and a zillion opportunities out there. I've never been scared of not finding a job. That is, until I started considering it.

To distract myself from these unholy thoughts, I'm going to take Cary's advice. To find a story and write about it. Just keep writing, Cindy, just keep writing.

* I included only excerpts because the answer itself was way too long. Click the link I provided if you want the response in full. 

Monday, 4 February 2013

Uptight(s) about yoga pants and leggings

"Leggings and yoga pants banned," I murmured to myself, eyes slowly moving across my computer screen.

I'm reading an article on the Winnipeg Free Press about a high school's decision to ban their students from wearing yoga pants, leggings, or tights.

I frowned, looking down on my own pair of comfortable lululemon yoga pants. Good thing I graduated from high school five years ago, I thought, wiping the sweat off my brow.

Yoga pants, leggings, and tights are not new to the scene. In high school (that would be 2005-2008), every second teenage girl was rocking a pair of the aforementioned. At first, the form-fitting alternative to pants frightened me - almost as much as when skinny jeans arrived to the forefront of every retail store - but now they've grown on me (the yoga pants, not the skinny jeans).

I can begin to understand why St. Boniface Diocesan High School banned these articles of clothing. Tights, for example, are tricky. This is only my opinion, but I agree that they are in no way a substitute for pants; the thin material resembles a more pantyhose-like garment. There's even a website dedicated to the cause. Read the manifesto; even if you don't agree with their mission, it's quite entertaining.

To me, I don't think this is news. Dress codes (and bans) are frequent in adolescence - and I think they always will be. In the '90s, platform shoes were supposedly sent from hell a la Spice Girls.

I felt like this could have been a news story which focused on shaming the bad teenage girls for choosing such scantily clad clothes, but I applaud Gabrielle Giroday for interviewing a retailer, a representative from a school board, someone who has been through a similar situation in the past, and someone who could be affected by this decision now. That made this a well-balanced story - it covered all the bases on a topic which apparently doesn't cover enough skin.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

No takesies-backsies!

I once interviewed a man for an article in the Seven Oaks community newspaper, The Times. I had heard about him through my aunt who insisted that he was "the nicest man" she's ever met and everyone at her workplace was in agreement over that hyperbolic title. Apparently he is a retiree who spends his day at a shopping centre asking people if they needed help. He asked for nothing in return because all he wanted to do was help out. I thought that was an excellent feel-good, community story.

One day I accompanied my aunt to her part-time job, and she hailed down this man for me. He was a towering, white-haired, ruddy-faced, soft-spoken man. I liked him immediately. He did not speak English very well - he came from a country in Europe - but I tried to communicate my actions to him as simply and clearly as possible. I'm a student, I'm writing an article for The Times, would you be interested in being my interview subject?

"Sure, okay," he told me. Awesome.

I told him I'd meet him here at the mall tomorrow, and he agreed. Unfortunately, my plans had fallen through and we rescheduled for another time. I was disappointed at first, but also relieved that the interview was still happening no matter what date it will fall on.

When we did meet up, the interview lasted maybe ten minutes. I asked him simple questions. Where are you from? What did you do? Why do you come here and offer to help people? And so on. He gave me one- or two-word replies. It was tough trying to pull a story out of this man, but I think I managed.

After the very short interview, I thanked him and we went our separate ways.

Weeks later, I received an angry phone call from my aunt. She said that this man did not want to be in the paper and requested to have the story pulled out.

My first thought was, the story ran? I immediately checked the paper's website - and it had printed. But I didn't understand why the man was so adamant on having the story taken out. I hadn't written anything mean-spirited or wrong - according to the interview we had weeks ago. Confusion slowly melted away to anger. After an angry exchange of words between my aunt and me, I hung up and stewed over this situation for a little while longer.

Why did he not want to be in the news? I thought it would have been an honour to be recognized the way he was. And if he didn't want to be in the paper, he shouldn't have agreed! But wait, he didn't speak English well, so maybe it was my fault. Maybe I didn't explain it clearly enough. Anger gave way to self-pity.

What's done is done, I had decided.

He was going to be yesterday's news anyway.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Read me like a book

"When I was at CBC . . ."

"Oh my God, Cindy, SHUT UP ABOUT CBC."

(This is how I imagine how the conversation would go between me and the readers of this blog.)

To respond - no!

This will be my last post talking about CBC, I swear. The internship isn't even a crucial part of this post; it's just my starting point. You've got to admit, there's a wealth of blog topics packed into a three-week internship at TV news station.

Anyway, when I was at CBC, I went to a high school (can't remember, but that's irrelevant) to shoot an event called the Human Library. In this scenario, the students are the readers and the guests they invite are the books. Clever, huh? The librarian I spoke to said this "chapter" (so clever) focused on aboriginal people and culture, so the school invited aboriginal artists and musicians to be read by (interviewed by) the students. Even Wab Kinew, a former CBC reporter, was there. He ended the event by fusing an aboriginal song with rap music.

CBC is hosting Human Library Live Online on January 26 at 11 a.m. The website states that the Human Library movement was created by Danish activists who believe that in-depth conversations "break down barriers, eliminate stereotypes, and fight prejudice."

I believe journalism is a lot like a Human Library. At the event, the students were immersed in their conversations with so many prominent aboriginal people who have a wealth of life experiences to share. They were listening, not judging. Discussing, not competing. Interested, not indifferent.

In journalism, reporters should have the qualities of a reader. Invested in the plot and the characters. Patient and open to twists. Eager to get to the end but also excited to go along on the journey.

I can't say I always follow this ideology. But that's fine. And besides - the librarian did say this was just the first chapter.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Journalists dream of . . .

I recently watched a documentary called Jiro Dreams of Sushi to get in the mindset of a documentary filmmaker in preparation for my documentary production class. Dean Cooper, the super cool instructor, urged us to watch a documentary as an assignment. Um, watching TV for homework? You don't need to tell me twice.

Here's a trailer for the film. If you have the time, please, please, please watch the full documentary. You won't regret it!

The documentary follows an 85-year-old sushi chef named Jiro. His restaurant seats about ten people. He takes reservations one month in advance - that's how successful and in demand his food is. His plates start at 30,000 yen - which translates to $300 a plate in North American speak. Crazy, right? Who would spend that much money on so little sushi?

In Jiro's world, quality trumps quantity every time. That's his philosophy on his craft, his art, his passion. People who eat at his restaurant claim each morsel is worth the money. I don't know about you, but I'm a girl who values quantity just as much as quality. Then again I have yet to try Jiro's sushi.

However, that is one issue which the documentary examines. A central focus in the film is continuing Jiro's legacy when he passes. His oldest son, Yoshikazu, is to expected to carry on the tradition of sushi-making as well as maintain Jiro's restaurant and good name. The documentary explores the intensive training processes Yoshikazu and past and present apprentices go through every day to achieve the top quality of sushi Jiro is known for making. Jiro pushes his son and employees to their very limits every day to ensure they have the best ingredients, the best methods, and the best food they can possibly have. Jiro's reputation as a consistent, tough, passionate sushi chef is known among his competitors, customers, and friends.

This got me thinking. Is there a Jiro standard in journalism? Do we as journalism students have a mild-mannered but hard-assed guru of reporting to admire and aspire to be?

If not, there should be one.

Jiro achieves the best results every day - according to the film - by repeating the same high standards of practice every day. He strives for improvement with each day. He maintains amicable relationships with his shrimp and fish dealers (they're honestly called that) as well as communicating constructively with his son and employees. And he pays attention to little details that matter.

Sounds to me that journalism and sushi-making are not that different after all.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Work placement worked out

I had had my doubts about interning at a TV news station, but it all worked out in the end.

Working at CBC News Winnipeg was my first official internship. I've said before that all I wanted to do was write in a print journalism career, and honestly, I still do. But this experience taught me to stop living my life through tunnel vision and to be open to new things.

One of the things I need to do to succeed in this field is to stop doubting myself. Every time I have to do something different or out of my comfort zone, my initial thought is always, "but what if I'm not good enough?" as opposed to, "this is another opportunity for me to expand my skill set and learn something new." I'm trying my hardest this semester to think of the latter.

During the first week of my internship, I was of course shadowing reporters as most new interns do. That week, the opening of IKEA was a huge story. I had spent a lot of that week within that part of the city. I watched Marjorie Dowhows interview a self-proclaimed IKEA enthusiast in her home. I stood outside in the cold as Ryan Hicks performed a live hit at 6:00 p.m. the night before the furniture warehouse opened. It really showed me the importance of informing the audience of updates on and continuations of stories. The IKEA story led to the discussion of Kenaston traffic which led to the Kapyong Barracks story. It was interesting to see how it was all connected.

The IKEA media party was an exciting event to hear about. Even before it started, the CBC staff had discussed how they weren't allowed to participate because they abided by strict rules to not accept gifts of any kind as to not compromise objectivity. I'm very lucky to have witnessed the controversy; it was an excellent reminder of how to behave while on the job. When I went to a fossil centre in Morden, I was too scared to even take a piece of cake.

During my second and third weeks at CBC, my workload picked up. I was trained by Robert Miyai to use the video editing and script writing software (which were way easier than Final Cut Pro, by the way). I accompanied cameramen to press conferences and community events to film and write 30-second voiceover clips. It was nerve-racking at first, but by my third week, I got the hang of it, going on two or three shoots a day. Before that would have sent me in panic spirals, but one of my favourite mentors there told me that no one wants to work with someone like that. Also very good advice.

My last day of the internship was also the most eventful. In addition to finally being able to write and edit a full story (that wasn't allowed to air, but that's okay) as well as filming a stand-up, my - and every other second-year CreComm student's - last day was also the day of the Connecticut school shooting.

I had never been so confused and scared and . . . energized . . . at the same time. Something big just happened and I wanted to be a part of it. The newsroom was abuzz with purpose; everyone had something to do but me. It was 5:00 p.m. but I wanted to stay and see what was going to unfold. I waited an hour in case they needed me for anything but they didn't. I went home with many questions.

But . . . I also went home with a portfolio piece. See, it all worked out.