Hey Journalism… I’m Ready

30 Aug

Summer internship at Global BC: ✔

Professional headshots: ✔

I’m ready, right? That’s all I need in order to become a hard-hitting, professional journalist… right? Well, maybe I need to add this:

Career in journalism: Work in Progress.

I finished up at Global BC last week and over the past few days, I’ve been mulling over how to conclude my experience in this last blog post. I’ll begin with my last day.

It was a day that began with good-byes right from the start; as I walked in at 8am, I said good-bye to Tony who works the overnight security shift. Always a pleasant face to greet me in the mornings as I sometimes stumbled in half-asleep.

As the day continued on, more people filtered in for their shifts and this meant more good-byes. Yes, that includes the infamous Nikki who was kind enough to be my first guinea pig for the sake of this blog.

Later, I had a nice chat with the man who allowed me to be an intern in the newsroom in the first place and got some great feedback. Our conversation really pushed me to pursue journalism more seriously and soon after, I signed up for several journalism classes for the fall, including a broadcast presentation class (victory!).

(I say this because my program is Radio and Television Arts which has a strong focus on technical skills and producing. These classes will focus more so on writing the journalistic way!).

I was actually surprised at how sad I really was to conclude my experience there. Working in a newsroom may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but I really took a liking to it. For the first time, I think I’ve found an environment that really suits my personality. I like the constant change and the hustle that springs into action when breaking news occurs. I like that I’ve honed in on my news-detecting skills (and this is thanks to, in part, to the many callers who called in with their stories). I like the team effort that occurs just to make a story happen; from the assignment editor to the reporter to the camera person to the editor and finally to the production crew. It’s all quite fascinating to observe.

At first, during my internship, I felt I needed to be doing more. For those first 6 weeks, I was basically spending the majority of my time observing the action around me. Occasionally, someone would see my unfamiliar face and strike up a conversation, but for the most part, I was an observer. This truly was a test of my patience, but now I totally understand why this was a necessity. There is just so much that goes on in such a large newsroom. I needed that time just to understand the process and see where I could fit in to help.

Eventually, I got into my groove and by the end of it, I was busy for the majority of my days. From helping reporters do background research to setting up interviews to taking phone calls from all across B.C., I was given more and more responsibility. And by the end, I really felt in the right place.

I must say, as well, the anchors and reporters really are as nice as they appear to be during their broadcasts.

So as I close this chapter and begin the next, I fully intend to be back in that newsroom one day. Whether it’s next summer as I reprise my role as an intern or even eventually working as a reporter, the intention is there. For now, I will go off to school and learn important things like sentence structure and verb tenses and the inverted pyramid. I will try my hand at radio through an internship in Toronto and I will continue to learn at school.

With all this in motion, I’m pretty sure I can only get better.

For now, so long, farewell and hope to see you next summer.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

Oh Hello There, 2:15AM

25 Aug

Have you seen the above video of Wesla Wong‘s sleepy puppy? It’s only got 45,000+ hits so it may be worth checking out (…if you’re prepared to handle an overload of cuteness).

Anyway, sleepy Jasmine is kind of how I feel today and probably how the whole Morning Team feels in general.

For months now, I’ve heard about their sleeping patterns; a 4 hour snooze and then work. And then a 4 hour nap after work. And so on. Others choose to go to sleep at 8pm and then awake at 3:30am the next morning.

It sounds like a draining cycle, but today I dared myself to try it out. Just so I could relate to their jobs that much more. Hey, I’m only here for 1 more day so why not try to immerse myself fully into the atmosphere?

Ok. Well in actuality, I had to set my alarm at 2:15am this morning to awake for online class enrollment. I am back to Toronto next week, after all, and school commences the following week.

For whatever reason, my school decided to open enrollment at 5:30am EST so for me on the West Coast, that meant quite the rude awakening. After 4 hours of sleep, my alarm told me to get  up, turn on my computer and prepare for the bloody battle that is online course enrollment.

I obeyed and sadly, lost the battle I was prepared to fight. I really didn’t get into any classes I was hoping to so that means I can look forward to 2 weeks of constantly checking my schedule to score those spots! Woohoo – bring on the fun!

…Does this post even make sense anymore? Brain fried. Typing…slowing…down… Hey, this morning I was so tired, I was staring at a picture of David Hasselhoff during my entire 1.5hour commute and could not – for the life of me – recall his name until I tweeted about a Baywatch star named Dustin Hoffman.

SoI tried to fall back asleep at 3:15am, but really… sleep did not happen. It was 2 hours of half-asleep/half-awake, tossing and turning, kind of dreaming, but really just thinking…? sleep.

So my whole point is — today, I felt like I could relate to the Morning Team more than ever. And Jasmine. I tried talking to people this morning on numerous occasions and I was actually having trouble stringing a proper sentence together. I can only imagine feeling this tired and having to think on my feet while LIVE ON AIR. Huge kudos to Tanya Beja, Steve Darling, Lynn Colliar, Wesla Wong, Mark Madryga, Sophie Lui, Kristi Gordon and of course, the entire production crew and newsroom crew. Those are certainly some talented people.

I hear everyone on the Morning Team usually goes through somewhat of an initiation period and eventually, they get used to the routine. As for me, I’m patting myself on the back for making it through today. Luckily, I was kept busy (with stories you can watch tonight on the News Hour) and therefore time flew and I’m only feeling the magnitude of my tiredness at the end of the day. (Bonus: just learned “tiredness” is an actual word).

Tomorrow is my last day of my internship here at Global. My aim is to end on a highly journalistic and professional note with a post that eloquently summarizes my experience over the past few months. 8 hours of sleep… here I come.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

Hello? Is it Me You’re Looking For?

19 Aug

Just in case you were wondering the same about me…

I’m still here at Global. I’m still blogging. Please come back tomorrow for a fresh new blog post with pictures AND video! 🙂


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

The Evolution of Robin Stickley

10 Aug

Inspired by R&B singer Robin Thicke’s album, I decided to bring together various clips that show the evolution of Robin Stickley‘s career.

…In actuality, I stumbled upon a YouTube video that highlights Robin’s early days as a reporter and I found it interesting to compare to her work today.

And a few years later, here she is anchoring for Global National:

More recently, Robin reported live from Kelowna on the News Hour:

You can catch Robin anchoring the News Hour Weekend as well as reporting during the week. Or you can check out her YouTube channel here.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

Behind the Scenes with Wesla Wong

8 Aug

Wesla Wong takes care of weather and traffic on the morning and noon shows at Global BC.

On Wednesday, August 4th, she allowed me to shadow her during the Noon News Hour and get a feel for what her job requires. I’ve turned that experience into the video below… enjoy!

P.S. Check out Wesla’s blog: www.weslawong.com.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

If You Haven’t Heard…

5 Aug

In conversation, I’m often asked about my time here at Global. Turns out I’m not the only one curious to know what goes on behind the scenes of B.C.’s popular news broadcasts.

Commonly, I’m asked about the design of the newsroom, the set, the hours people work (the newsroom operates 24/7 and the morning news team is up at 3:30am) and of course — the anchors and reporters. What many people don’t know is that Global B.C. News is Canada’s top-rated evening newscast (and one of North America’s most watched local newscasts!).

As well, the Global B.C. station is home to Global National which Kevin Newman has anchored since the beginning — since its inception, if you will. All the writing and production for Global National happens here. In 2008, Newman made the move to Ottawa and through the amazing power of technology, he now delivers his broadcasts from a special green screen studio in Ottawa while the production is still controlled from here in Burnaby (even the robotic cameras).

Interesting sidenote: Newman delivers his broadcasts like he’s speaking to his mother. Article here.

So this leads me to my next frequently asked question: Who’s replacing Kevin Newman? Most people know he’ll be leaving the program this month, but few recall who is stepping into his shoes.

Well, ladies and gentlemen — that person is Dawna Friesen. If her name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s probably because she has been based in London, England for the last 11 years as an anchor for NBC News. As far as resumes go, hers is vast. Friesen has some serious experience under her belt and after I learned more about her, I was definitely inspired by her career path. She has extensively covered Europe and the Middle East. Quite the resume for a gal who grew up on a farm in Winnipeg. This video gives a great introduction to her jaw-dropping career.

As I mentioned, I’m quite in awe of her international work experience. While I can imagine there must have been some personal sacrifices made to have such a mobile career, there is something about her experience that really speaks to me. I do have a European passport and fully intend to use it one day.

As well, the fact that a female was selected to be the anchor for Global National (Lisa LaFlamme for CTV, too) is quite gratifying and encouraging. As a female student of this profession in a world where people aren’t quite sure if men and women are treated with the same level of respect, I’d say this is a positive step in the right direction.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

B.C. Fire Watch

3 Aug

B.C. is burning. Sadly.

Today, I received multiple calls regarding the 400 active fires burning across British Columbia.

July has been a dry one! As Mark Madryga was just telling the newsroom, there was less than a millimetre of rain in Vancouver in July. Considering May and June were very un-summery, the beach weather in July was a nice welcome change! Everyone’s bronzey tans attest to this.

Unfortunately, we are now paying the price of enjoying a month of extremely dry weather. So today in the newsroom, I deemed myself to be on “Wildfire Watch”… ie. watch the online map below to monitor current and new fires across British Columbia.

Multiple callers wanted to keep me in the loop on fires close to their own homes. We had a few cameramen out in the interior of B.C. who also called to say that it was quite smokey where they were and wondered what was going on around them.

After the long weekend, it’s been an especially busy day here in the newsroom. Everyone is getting back into their routines after the four-day weekend which included the Vancouver Pride Parade, the Spirit of the Sea Festival, a B.C. ferry crashing into the dock and sadly, deaths along the Trans-Canada highway.

As I’m currently still in the newsroom and have not left the comfort of the air conditioning just yet, I do hear that rain is beginning to fall outside and thunderstorms are even rumored to be brewing. Selfishly, I know I’ll miss the beautiful 25-degree-sunny days. But really… our province is burning and it desperately needs an ice-cold glass of downpour. Someone please pass the pitcher.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

World Wide Wesla Wong

29 Jul

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Weather and Traffic Gal Wesla Wong‘s blog (www.weslawong.com). She gives a behind-the-scenes look at her job and the Global newsroom during the morning and noon show.

Here is a sample of Wesla’s stealthy work:

And this is just entertaining. A look at what Mark Madryga does when the weather doesn’t go exactly as predicted…


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

Weekend News

27 Jul

For the second time, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the newsroom on a weekend.

Generally, there are much fewer people working and the “newsroom buzz” is a few decibels lower than normal. There are the same usual suspects scattered throughout the room – the producers, the writers, the production team members, the editors, the anchors and reporters – just fewer than on weekdays.

Because there are less bodies, this affords me the opportunity to lend an extra helping hand where possible. During this past weekend, this meant assisting the weekend producer with some breaking news from Powell Lake where a float plane flipped forward in the water and everyone onboard survived.

This was of particular interest since similar stories that have been reported lately involved the passengers dying.

So the news broke right before the Saturday evening show and I was able to contact a witness from a nearby restaurant who then emailed a photo to my phone. We were able to get it on air in time.

When I arrived bright and early at the newsroom on Sunday morning, the weekend producer asked me to help her figure out a travel plan for a reporter and shooter to get to Powell Lake ASAP.

As you can see, it’s not the closest destination to travel to, shoot the story and then get back to the newsroom in time to edit for the 6pm show. After looking at ferry schedules, it was decided that a charter float plane would be the best option.

After a few quick calls, we were able to secure a float plane for the day to transport the reporter and cameraperson (…is it politically incorrect these days to say “cameraman”?) to Lake Powell and back.

Throughout the day, we kept tabs on the two adventurers and their story updates. While they were traveling, I worked on finding more witnesses that may have seen the incident.

When they made it back to the newsroom (in time and after plenty of hustle), we found out that they actually interviewed some members of a nearby softball team who helped fish the shocked passengers and pilot out of the water.

So without further ado, here is the story ladies and gentlemen.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma

Let’s Throw it Over to…

23 Jul

Hanging around the Global newsroom for the last two months, I’ve had the opportunity to do lots of watching.

Watching the news. Watching the production teams. Watching the control room. Watching the camera guys. And especially watching the anchors and reporters.

Their ability to articulate and tell a story so smoothly and conversationally is something I have especially been taking note of. Sometimes they have teleprompters, sometimes not. Sometimes there are small trip-ups or mics decide to stop working. And while all this is happening live, I’ve been able to see how they handle the unexpected and still keep their cool.

The reason I’m so curious? Not only is it fascinating to see this in person, but it is apparent why these people are employed as reporters and anchors. Professionalism, improvisation, personality, articulation, charisma… all qualities that not everyone possesses, but necessities to succeed in this job.

I was recently looking at my first RUtv News show as an anchor. When we shot that, I was essentially just winging it. I had my lines memorized (no teleprompters for us at that time), but I had yet to really practice the subtle nuances and inflexions that can make a huge difference in the delivery.

Already, I feel like I have much to improve upon. I am now eager to test my theory of broadcasting osmosis. Will their skills find a way to permeate into my own brain? I look forward to finding out.


Let’s keep in touch on Twitter@BritDarma