Visiting TV news stations and My Philosophy Behind Wanting to See it All

Well it’s done. I’ve finalized plans for an excursion into the city next month. I’ve spoken about this vaguely on my Facebook wall.  Now since my plans are set in stone (well more or less, anything can happen in TV news, big hint there!) I think I can mention more about this day in Edmonton, and why I’m so excited about it.

I’m going to visit a TV news station in Edmonton. Yes, I have already seen two but from my perspective every station is different. Not only do journalists have differing styles in story-telling, but even how a newscast is broadcast might not be quite the same, station to station. Examples for this could be CTV Edmonton having a guest come into their studio and cook something on air. There’s a moment in the Global Edmonton “News Hour” where one of their news anchors or reporters will be shown standing for the story they are sharing with their audience at home. What’s more, there can be differences from the size of a studio, how many people are on staff, and the overall atmosphere a given news station wants to achieve for their newscast.

I’m not yet in a journalism program. I have already decided however, that I’d like to see, hear and learn from multiple areas of journalism (TV, radio and print). In my mind this could only serve to make me a better journalist later on when I actually have a career in the industry.


Interview a Journalist – Jeremy Lye

This is the last interview in this series. Thank you to Mr. Lye for taking the time for this interview.

1. What made you first want to become a journalist?

I sort of fell into it. Living in Australia I decided to get my masters in Journalism. I thought journalism would be interesting. There was one lecture by Bruce Grundy, a well-known journalist in Australia, which I found fascinating. Just the way he lectured was fascinating.

2. Have you always been in radio?

No. I was in print in Australia as part of Masters then I did radio for 6 months after that. Then I travelled to Honduras and did radio there. I enjoy writing for print; you can really get into the story.

3. What’s one memorable story you’ve covered from your career?

While living in Whitecourt in 2007 there was a news story in Calgary about a nuclear power plant opening in Alberta. I made some calls and discovered it was true. Energy Alberta tried to politely ask me not to break the story (they wanted to announce it themselves at a later date).  In the end, I broke the story.

4. What has been your biggest achievement professionally?

I think it’s working at a job I love, and loving what I do.

5. Any future professional goals or projects on the horizon?

No. At this stage of my life, my priority is family.

6. Finally, what is one piece of advice you could give to an aspiring journalist?

Don’t do anything without researching first.

Thinking Positive About Winter

I dislike winter. I mean, I really dislike winter. It’s not so much the biting cold, and the endless dumps of snow from Mother Nature; for me it’s all about the ice and being practically house bound at winter time. Though, one must always try to find the positives in even the most dreaded of circumstances.

Recently I was watching Global News a couple nights ago and the news anchors, Lynda Steele and Gord Steinke were trying to come up with the positives of winter. Well it might not be as original a question as I’d like to ponder, but it is a good question to ask oneself. What is there about winter that can be deemed good?

Well here is what I can think of. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments section of this blog.

1. Hot chocolate

2. Staying indoors playing board games, watching movies or otherwise spending time with family and friends.

3. Wrapping up in a favourite blanket.

4. Curling up in a favourite blanket while reading a good book.

Inspirational Women (and Men) on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. Though we should celebrate women every day, today is when women are honoured the world over. So who do I admire most amongst the women in my life? Well for one I’d have to say my mother.  After a year of early intervention preschool, my mom made sure I was in an integrated program at the local elementary school. Even with the bullying I experienced throughout my school years, I am still grateful for the opportunities I might have not had, had I been in a special needs program throughout school. Though that is not to say there is anything wrong with special needs programs, they just would not have been what was best for me.  I digress however, back to the subject of this blog post.

So what other women in my life, do I look up to? For a myriad of reasons here is a small, abridged list…

  1. Diane Sawyer – An American journalist I look to for how she anchors a newcast. To me, Diane Sawyer seems to be professional in how she presents herself on ABC News every Monday – Friday night but also a welcoming, and warm heated person.
  2. Katie Couric – Another American journalist I look up to. I admire Ms. Couric’s professionalism but also her sense of humour and having fun. Plus she’s really good on the harmonica! (Attempt at some humour there).
  3. Now for someone whom I may take some flack for mentioning. I’d have to say Cher has been a role model for me since Jr. High when my mother took me to my first concert (Believe Tour ’99). I admire Cher because, despite a learning disability she comes across to me as an intelligent, sassy and successful person. As someone with a disability, I admire that.
  4. My grandmother on my mom’s side. I admire the sheer courage and perseverance she must have had to raise 12 children, while working nights to support her family.

Now while it is International Women’s Day, allow me to play devil’s advocate for a moment. It is my belief that both men and women can be  successful, intelligent and hard working. So without further ado here is a list of men I admire.

  1. Lloyd Robertson – One of the journalist greats in Canada. Every time I watch CTV National and he is anchoring, I can’t help but like his professionalism and how he always comes across as a true gentleman.
  2. Gord Steinke – A local journalist that I have been lucky enough to have met. Mr. Steinke is not only a good journalist but also one heck of a singer and guitarist.
  3. My great uncle Al – I still remember trying to solve the riddles he had for my brother and me when we were kids. I miss my uncle to this day, and pray for a cure for colon cancer as well as all cancers.

Spreading my Wings

Well it’s official. I’ve been accepted to Grant MacEwan’s Bachelor of Communication Studies program. Now if I can figure out the finances, I’ll be set. It’s a pretty exciting opportunity, getting to University but I’m ready.

Another opportunity has presented itself of late. My name has been put forth for a Mentorship program as part of my journalism aspirations. I’m looking forward to it, although nervous as well. Eager to learn and who knows, maybe impress someday? However that sounds like I’m getting cocky so I will stop that train of thought.

So with the chance to be in a Mentorship program a question has been asked of me. What do I wish to get out of this program? What knowledge, skills or experience do I wish to gain? Well that got me to thinking. If I really think of it those questions could overlap into my going for my Bachelor of Communication Studies with journalism as my major. Sou what is it I wish to learn the most?

These are great questions. I guess a good place to start is being able to recognize a story when I see or hear one. I’d like to become an effective writer. One who achieves my end goal of getting conversations going about topics I’d report on or are of interest to me. For instance, my long term goal that I’d be hopefully leading up to, in a journalist career, is being a Troubleshooter.

Although unlike my role model Julie Matthews, who seems to focus more on Consumer issues such as scams and the like. As someone with a handicap, intolerance and discrimination have been no stranger to me. These are the types of stories I’d ideally like to end up reporting on. While I know I’d have to work towards that, covering a myriad of other topics, this is my main goal.

Beyond that; here is what I’d like to learn and get out of the above experiences and a career in journalism overall…

Confidence– Growing up watching TV news and even meeting the very journalists I’ve grown to look up to and admire, they’ve all seemed so professional, so polished. They all seemed to have this sense of identity and being sure of themselves and their abilities to be good at their jobs. I still feel like an infinitesimal bug. I second guess my writing and thinking about how I am perceived by others gives me cold sweats 9 times out of 10. I’d dream to be proud of who I am, to feel I’ve accomplished something with my life or that I even can. I want to be able to think “I am Erin Despas, I’m an intelligent person. I can conduct successful interviews and can write effectively and present myself in a confident, self-assured manner. This is just one part of me I have not let anyone know was there except very close friends.