During Summer, I did….

It’s that time of year again. Time for students (much like myself) to face the realities of the seasons, and go back to school. Now typically there are teachers out there that tend to give the same back to school assignment. Write a paragraph (or essay even) on what you did over the summer months. I’ve noticed, while the wording may be different, this topic is trending in Canada right now on Twitter. So what did you do over the holidays?

For me, I worked. Starting out once a week and then going to twice a week, I worked. The Edmonton Journal gave me the opportunity to experience working in a newsroom on a regular, weekly basis. Going to press conferences, doing write ups for the Edmonton Journal website and so on. It kept me busy. Though, that was only part of what I did this summer.

I also prepared for going to university. Buying school supplies and a bag to carry them in, and various other things such as pens, paper and mechanical pencils. Now I am in school and enjoying it thoroughly.

So what were your holidays like? What did YOU do over the summer?


Final days before University (and will Someone get This Song out of my Head!)

Well, it’s happening. First day of classes is this Tuesday. Now I’m just a jumble of nerves, excitement and curiosity.

I’m nervous as I don’t know what to really expect university to be like. I’m excited for the challenges that undoubtedly lay before me. Finally, I’m curious. Curious to know; what sorts of assignments will I be asked to do? If and when it comes time to go out in search of stories, where will that search take me? How will I do?

And ultimately, in my third year……Where would my placement be? Are students told where to go or do we get any say?

So, I’ve gone to the orientation now and met some of my classmates. Also, I have the song Come Some Away stuck in my head. Bridget Ryan was the keynote speaker for orientation. I can still recall the cabaret I went to see about a month or two ago. Bridget was singing lead vocals and it was an all 80s cabaret.

Seeing Ms. Ryan take to the stage at Grant MacEwan, as keynote speaker, was a great surprise. She showed herself to be just as lively and animated as she is when doing her cabaret shows or when on location for Breakfast Television (weekdays from 5:30 a.m to 9:00 a.m). Also, hearing her speak about her experiences being a student at Grant MacEwan (in 199____) gave insight to what lays ahead in the next four to five years.

I’m still nervous but, considering Ms. Ryan’s words, as well as the encouragement from friends and acquaintances alike, I’m ready for what’s to come. (I think!?)…..

Trouble Shooter Julie Matthews Likes Seeing Results (Profile on Julie Matthews!)

Most people spend their day trying to stay out of trouble. Global Edmonton’s Julie Matthews goes looking for it, on a daily basis. Receiving anywhere from fifty to a hundred emails a day and just as many phone calls to her Trouble Shooter hotline, Matthews keeps a jam-packed schedule.

With only a handful of Trouble Shooter positions available throughout Canadian news outlets the Trouble Shooter is in popular demand. There are up to a hundred calls and emails daily to the Trouble Shooter with problems that range from issues with moving companies to online romance scams.

Matthews got her start in journalism working at the CBC station in Lloydminster, Alberta as a radio and television reporter and anchor. After Lloydminster, she worked at a TV station in Lethbridge and then travelled to Kelowna, B.C to work at a station there.

When the Trouble Shooter position became available at Global Edmonton, Matthews seized the opportunity. She wanted to be closer to her family and fiancé so packed up and returned to Alberta.

Growing up in Bruderheim, Matthews always possessed an interest in public speaking and newspaper print journalism. Matthews was unaware there were courses available to enter into television news. It was a high school guidance counsellor that told Matthews about the Radio and Television Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton.

When asked about her job as a consumer advocate on Global and her past jobs as a journalist, Matthews said that with most of her past jobs, there was investigative journalism work she got to work on. When it comes to being a consumer advocate Matthews has said what she enjoys most is getting to meet new people every day and hear them tell their stories. “It’s the results that I can get for people, that is most important to me.”

Matthews approaches her job with diplomacy in mind. “There are two sides to every story. Quite often I end up being a mediator for some situations as they turn out to be misunderstandings.”

Matthews has said that she enjoys doing a variety of consumer stories. She works on everything from consumer education to hard hitting news stories. Her focus however, is on helping people. “If I can do that best with a hard hitting, investigative piece, then I do.”  Yet Matthews also has said that often the everyday problems and frustrations of consumers are best served by news stories that showcase their problem and educate others. “I love the education element.”

With sixteen years of experience in journalism, the thirty-five year old journalist has been with Global Edmonton for seven and a half years. Matthews has no plans currently to leave her job.

Matthews has won a number of awards for her reporting. Most recently were two Alberta Consumer Champion Awards from Service Alberta for stories on protecting car buyers and educating consumers on the processes involved with civil court. When she was working in Kelowna at Global’s sister station CHBC, she earned herself a regional Radio-Television News Directors Association award for a story she did into life on the front lines with a forest fire attack crew.

Matthews has said one of the things she enjoys about her job is getting to see things through. Being a consumer advocate Matthews has the chance to see situations come to resolution. At times she can also get to see any follow up that needs to be made, to a story she has worked on.

“I have fallen in love with my job as a trouble shooter. I can’t really see myself in any other job.”

Matthews includes her reporting on internet romance scams and the Taber school shooting as some of the more memorable stories she has covered as a reporter.

Matthews grew up watching Global Edmonton, then ITV. During her time away from her work at Global, her family operates its own business. Matthews also has two young sons that keep her busy.

Helping others is what motivates Matthews to continue her work as Global Edmonton’s Trouble Shooter.

“For every unpleasant person I have to deal with, there are many more wonderful and thankful consumers who are very happy that I do the work that I do.  I do this job for them.”

Any Questions??

I have recently resurrected my blog interview series “Interview with a Journalist.” Well now it’s your turn, to be the interviewer. Surely the readers of this blog must have some questions about me. Whether it be about my disability or various diagnosis’ or hopes and aspirations. Maybe you just want to know what I ate for breakfast (The answer is nothing by the way, I ordinarily don’t eat breakfast).

So the floor is open to you all. Have any questions for me? Big or small, I’ll try my best to answer them all.

Put your questions down in the comments section of this blog post. I look forward to reading and answering your questions!

Interview with a Journalist – Kevin Newman

Kevin Newman is the former weekday anchor and executive editor for Global National. In May 2010 he announced he was leaving Global National. Now, a year later, Newman is set to be the next host of CTV’s Question Period. Newman will also put his interest in digital media to work as a Digital News Evangelist. Today I sat down with Mr. Newman for a phone interview. What follows is a question and answer format of my interview with the successful journalist.

1. What made you decide to become a journalist?

As a teenager I was always interested in current events and was a bit of a news junkie.

I liked watching election nights. In school I was on student’s council and I really liked being able to see things for myself and tell others about it.


2. Are there any moments, either when you were anchoring or reporting, that stand out for you in your career?

The election of President Obama stands out to me as historic and unlikely. I’ve met Nelson Mandella who is a gracious man.

Covering wars and conflicts has made me appreciate life and my country even more deeply.


3. Why the decision to leave Global National?

I was becoming interested in digital media and felt I had to leave my job at Global National to pursue that interest.


4. What will you be doing now in your new job at CTV?

I will have two part time jobs. I’ll be hosting a political show for CTV (Question Period) and also I will be engaging myself in digital media.


5. Any advice for aspiring journalists or journalists that are just entering the industry?

Know how to do as many forms of journalism and storytelling as possible.

Think of yourself more as tradespeople, learn a little of everything.


6. What is one part of the job that you love?

Meeting people and helping them share their stories.


7. What is one part of the job you dislike?

It takes time away from my family and can be really stressful working to a deadline every day.


8. Anything about yourself that people might not know about you, that you’d like to share? (I.e.  You have a Standard poodle).

I was an assistant manager at a McDonald’s before university.


Time at Edmonton Journal Comes to an End/ Thank you EJ for Everything!

Well it’s over now. Last week was supposed to be the end of my time at the Edmonton Journal but due to my injuring my left foot and ankle however, that changed. Yesterday was my last day – and a very melancholy, reflective day it was.

I started at the Journal on April 12 this year. Wide-eyed naive; I had never been given an opportunity like this before. Heck, I still don’t think I have any real experience worth celebrating. I am still wide-eyed and naive. Yet, I have grown. I have grown as a journalist (or journalist in the making rather).

I have learned so much from my mentors; first Karen Unland and then a combination of Barb Wilkinson and Lucinda Chodan. (Wilkinson is the newspapers’ deputy editor and Chodan is the editor in chief). From how to conduct interviews efficiently and effectively, writing profiles that are engaging and entertaining and then there’s the absolute addiction (for me) of going to press conferences and working on reporting on them.

My experiences at the Journal didn’t end with what I learned about journalism. I experienced acceptance; not just from one person, but from a whole team of great people. I experienced inclusion. Being offered coffee from Tim Horton’s when a colleague was going on a coffee run left a great impression on me.

I experienced so much during the past four months. I am grateful for all the lessons I have been taught during this time. Also, I am thankful for the gifts I have been given. Being encouraged, having people tell me they have confidence in me and my abilities, means such a great deal to me.

I have had a whirlwind of a time while at the Edmonton Journal. I have been busier than a queen bee in her hive. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I enjoyed every moment I was at the newspaper and look forward to September when I have been allowed to come back for the Raise a Reader campaign. I can’t wait!

Thanks you go out to – Lucinda Chodan, Barbara Wilkinson, Karen Unland, Kerry Powell, Paula Simons, Elise Stolte, Candace Elliott, Jana Pruden, Shelley Bindon, Dave Cooper, Dave Howell, and the list goes on. I look forward to keeping in touch!

First Time for Everything

Those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter probably know by now I’ve injured my foot recently. Sure, I’ve sprained my ankle before and even my wrists too, at times, but for the first time there is a question as to whether I’ve broken a bone. The whole experience has given me perspective into a part of life, I’ve never ventured into (at least not willingly!).

So this is what it feels like to have a potentially fractured foot- how absolutely lovely! (can you sense the sarcasm here? Ya, I thought so).  Well while the pain is annoying; I think it’s safe to say the lack of being able to really do anything is ten times worse. I may not be a pro athlete or otherwise outgoing and active but even I like being able to go here and there without worrying about pain cramping my style. As it is, I’ve played more games of Civilization 3 than I care to think about. I’ve totally lost track at this point.

This weekend marks my favourite festival in Edmonton. I am still seriously bummed I had to miss Heritage Days. Trying out new ethnic foods, practicing my language skills with native speakers and enjoying the music of so many different cultures, I am going to live vicariously through friends this year, who have gone.

Though there is one bright side to my having injured myself. This past week was to be my last week at the Edmonton Journal. Since April, I’ve been part of a Mentorship there. This coming week will now be my final week at the Edmonton newspaper. Though, that will be for another blog post.

I’m off to go take another Advil now. Hope everyone’s been having a great long weekend.

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