Toronto

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.

 

 

On the National Post and having dreams come true

The towers at the corner of Front St. and Bay in Toronto, Canada. 

The towers at the corner of Front St. and Bay in Toronto, Canada. 

I know the National Post isn't a big paper out east but out in the prairies of Saskatchewan it is the king of the newspaper industry. It's the paper I grew up reading. When I decided that I wanted to be a journalist the National Post was the paper I dreamed I'd end up writing for. This Thursday one of my stories was featured on the front page of their website. I know everyone in the program has different career goals but I hope you guys remember that your dreams can come true.

If you follow me on social media or have me on Facebook you might have seen me make a few jokes before I left about being the "small town country boy in the big city." Well boys and girls I probably shouldn't have cracked that joke. Toronto is massive and I was not prepared for it at all. For the first few days my neck actually  hurt because I kept looking at all the tall buildings. It took some getting used to but I'm here now and I love it; the subway, the people, the honking of every car horn is beautiful in its own way.

I think the hardest part going forward is going to be shaping my pitches to a national paper. Something that sounds great to a regional paper or a local daily might not interest a national paper. That means I need to find some different stories. I'll be pitching some of those this weekend so hopefully you'll see them next week.

If you ever travel to Toronto I reccommend going to the cat cafe and making some new feline friends. It's pretty relaxing. I'll touch on that more in a future blog. 

Pivoting through the last few weeks

Thank you very much to the staff of Pivot Magazine. (L to R) Alexander Quon, Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner, Jeff Toth, Haley Maclean, Nicole Gnazdowsky. 

Thank you very much to the staff of Pivot Magazine. (L to R) Alexander Quon, Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner, Jeff Toth, Haley Maclean, Nicole Gnazdowsky. 

Note to self: Don’t decide to start a blog right when you go through some health issues. Apparently it makes keeping a regular writing schedule pretty damn hard.

Anyways I wrapped up the radio workshop about seven weeks ago. It was the final one taught by Doug Kirkaldy, who is an excellent instructor and great journalist. I learned how to write in broadcast style, record sound, and cut audio. Radio changed how I think of telling stories.  I consider myself a print journalist first but, when you try to create stories for radio you have to think about sound. Not just for the interviews that I recorded but also ambient noise and sound effects. If you want to check out some of the work I did click here.

I also spearheaded a magazine project, serving as the Editor and Chief of Pivot magazine for its first issue. I had an amazing team of fellow journalism students and friends who made it the magazine that I’m proud to share with you guys right here.

We’re a magazine that focuses on new media creative content. Things like boardgames, podcasts indie videogames, and illustrators. 

Haley Maclean served as the Art Director for the project and she put together the amazing cover of the magazine. You can find more of her work over at pawpaints.ca. Jeff Toth served as the copy editor of the magazine but he also designed a boardgame for the magazine. You can find more about him on his blog.  Nicole Gnazdowsky served as the managing editor and she kept us all grounded during the magazines creation. Guillaume Lapointe-Gagner served as the photo editor but he also put together the magazine's pitch video. Everyone wrote and designed the magazine. I’m so proud of all of them. 

Now I’m in Toronto. I moved here a couple days ago and I’ll be starting with The National Post as an intern on Monday. More to come!