Journalism

It’s OK to follow the dreams that are not yours

Today marks the 22nd Mother’s Day of my life. I used to enjoy this day. It was fun and it was a good chance to spend time with my family. But that was a long time ago. This will be the 16th year without my mom and until now I haven’t really felt like this was a day I could celebrate.

It has taken me 23 years to learn a lesson, one that I haven’t been able to fully appreciate until recently.

Here is that lesson.

You don’t always have to follow your dreams. Many of us won’t. We’ll be limited by wealth or by geography or even time. But this is an important thing, sometimes the dreams you follow don’t have to be your own.

The place I’m at now. The things I’ve done are all because of my mom. She was the one who taught me to fall in love with reading, to know a story and to be brave.  

It was my mother’s dream that I get a Master Degree. She wanted my brother and I to get an education, she believed it was one of the best ways to make a livelihood.

I’m not sure that I ever truly wanted to get a Master Degree.

I don’t think it was originally part of my plan. But here I am, only ten days away from walking across the stage for the third time in three years – and I’ll be receiving the degree in something I love.

When I go across that stage it won’t be for me. It’ll be for her.

That’s my gift to you, Happy Mother’s Day Mom.

 

The Daily Beast and journalistic ethics

Source: ( The Daily Beast ) 

Source: (The Daily Beast

It really isn't that hard to do things right when you're media. 

Just follow the basic rules of journalism, one of which is don't lie. Another is to not put the subjects of your story in danger. 

Both of these things are what Nico Hines of the Daily Beast did when he wrote his now infamous story that focused on gay athletes in Rio. 

Outing people is bad, but outing people who live in countries hostile to LGBT is worse. They can face life threatening consequences. But I shouldn't have to tell you this. I'll let your writers do it for me. 

When Gawker decided to out a an executive living a secret lifestyle your writers took them to task. 

So what made you think publishing this was a good idea at all? 


Here is what you don't do when you release a controversial and admittedly terrible article. 

You don't do a half measure like edit out identifying details when the entire premise of the article is wrong. Then, when you realize that you messed up so bad that you became a Twitter moment you don't pull the article. It's nice that you now redirect to an editors letter admitting that you messed up but you're also hiding that fact by pulling the article down.

This was failure on numerous fronts. Hines should have never pitched the article, written the article and an editor should have never permitted it to go up on your site.  

The Daily Beast has promised they'll do better. Lets hope they're right. 

Hey look at me! I have another degree!

My parents and I after the University of King's College Encaenia or graduation. 

My parents and I after the University of King's College Encaenia or graduation. 

A year ago today I announced that I would be moving to Halifax and attending a journalism program at the University of King’s College. A year later and I am now the holder of a brand new Bachelor of Journalism degree. It’s a journey I couldn’t have done without the help of my parents which you can see in the photo above. They  have supported and helped me through school. They’ve even helped me move into my new apartment in Halifax.

I also have to thank everyone in the journalism program. In the eight months we’ve spent together it has been a fantastic journey. I’ve made so many friends and I can’t wait to see where you all end up. I’m so proud of everyone who has already locked down a job and good luck to everybody who is still searching.

Instructors like Mark Pineo, Elaine McCluskey, Doug Kirkaldy, Shaina Luck and Stephen Puddicombe have been great instructors and even better mentors. Without them I couldn't have learned as much as I have. 

As I’m writing this I’m back home in Saskatchewan for the week. It’s been nice to see the friends I haven’t been around in a few months. Believe it or not it is nice to see the prairies again.

I’ll be back in Halifax next where I will begin the second half of my program. I’ll finally be a graduate student enrolled in the investigative stream of the Master’s of Journalism. It’ll be something that is focused on the type of work I want to do in the future so I'm very excited to get started. I start classes on June 6 and I’ll try to keep you updated on how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ve been attempting to freelance articles so please wish me luck. Until next time! 

On the dangers of a semi-public life and starting fresh

The Gooderham Building in Toronto, an example of the'flatiron' architectural style. 

The Gooderham Building in Toronto, an example of the'flatiron' architectural style. 

The more I experience journalism (i.e. not in a classroom but in an actual newsroom) the more I fall in love with it.

I love getting up every morning and not knowing what to expect. I love cold calling an expert, asking questions and writing an article. I’m more confidant than ever that I can make this my career. I’m pushing ahead with my goals.

But all of those realizations have come at a cost.

Journalism is by its very nature a public job. Every article I write and publish, every tweet I send and every picture I post exposes me to the public. It exposes me to criticism, it exposes me to friend, and it exposes me to future employers.

Those are things I need, the things I crave, and those things also absolutely terrify me.

Social media and Web 3.0 are these wonderful tools that allow you to put yourself out there. They give you a platform through which you can interact with others. But I am constantly aware that by taking these tools and using them as a journalist I limit my ability to talk about the issues in my life.

For the longest time I’ve resisted putting things that are personal on this blog. The irony of being scared of posting personal information on a personal blog doesn’t go over my head.  But that has to change.

I don’t try to think too highly of myself. Very few people care about my opinions. Even less would care about the personal issues in my life. I’m not a celebrity. But this job does mean putting my name out in the public and in the digital age that can be hazardous.  

The fear of damaging my credibility or future employment prospects is legitimate. But I’m more afraid of hurting myself, my friends, or my family by becoming a public person.

In the past few weeks I’ve found myself scared of asking for help from the people around. That isn’t helpful for me and in the past that has been harmful to those around me.

I’m scared of reaching out for help and realizing nothing is out there but a wasteland of faceless, anonymous commentators. I’m scared of writing about what is really bothering me.

But I’m going to stop being afraid. At the very least I’m going to pretend that I’m not afraid. Journalists are supposed to be these fearless inquisitors, seeking the truth. So it’s time to start asking some hard questions of myself. Time to explore those little cracks and crevices of my mind that I normally leave for myself.

This blog is going to start becoming a cathartic release. It has to be. If a dozen people read it, or if it just ends up being me than I have to get some stuff out of my head.

I’ll begin posting the poetry I’ve written and the poetry I’m reading. I’ll post about what I’m feeling. Hopefully something everyday. Even if it’s 50 words.

This is something I should’ve began four months ago when I started this blog. But its time to start again.

Welcome to a fresh start. Welcome to these words of mine.