Global Lethbridge Practicum: Week 4

It’s over already? This whole month definitely flew by – in a good way. Readjusting to living with my parents was definitely an interesting experience, and the job I was doing made me look at my city in whole new light.

Monday: I did 2 in-person interviews today, being very mindful of distancing and sanitizing. My story was about how stores in Lethbridge that were still open – such as car dealerships and specialty grocers – were dealing with COVID-19. I spoke to the operator at a local used car dealership, and the owner of Umani Shop. I tried getting in contact with ATB Bank, but they were very difficult to reach. Once I did get ahold of them, they just sent me a very generic e-mail response that I didn’t end up using.

Tuesday: This story was quite cool to do. We did a group video chat with other media outlets (CTV, Lethbridge News Now, Bridge City, etc.) and three people with the new task force. I also reached out to a few people for a story I would be doing to the next day, and I interviewed a fellow from the International Air Show over Zoom. Went to the west side to get a quick VO shot for a liquor store assault. Got b-roll of small businesses to go with my pack, and requested a couple graphics.

Wednesday: Today was busy! I worked on a pack regarding tourism in Lethbridge, for which I had two new interviews and the one I did the day before. While I was at my one interview at Exhibition Park, I got b-roll for another VO/SOT and asked the same guy questions for a separate story. Once I got back, I had to start writing before I was sent off to a media availability for the U of L’s food donation packages. Basically, I worked o 2 VO/SOTs and a full pack.

Thursday: This story was quite fun to do because it’s something I am personally curious about as I’m in the process of moving right now. I got off to a bit of a slow start, because everyone I called just took messages and never actually got back to me. Finally, 1Up Moving and Delivery agreed to the interview and even drove out to us. We did the interview just outside because I didn’t want to bring anyone into the studio unnecessarily. I heard back from UHaul and did an over-the-phone interview with the communications guy in Arizona. Pretty happy with how today went.

Friday: Last day! Was the first time I did a story like this (centered around a single couple). I didn’t leave the newsroom at all because I didn’t need to. They were in quarantine since they had just returned from overseas, and all the broll was either photos they sent me or stuff from file. I could have had this story done very early, but I had SO many technical difficulties with the editing program. It was like the universe was against me.

Overall, a really great experience that I’m so thankful gets to continue for at least another 7 months!

CHAT News Practicum: Week 4

Overall practicum experience: Wow, where did the time go? It felt like I just started my practicum, now my desk is empty and I will be moving onto the final chapter of my education.

I don’t think I could have chose a better place to do my practicum. From the first day on, I was extremely involved and relied upon to bring quality stories to the table. I was given lots of freedom to chase stories, I was given an unbelievable amount of camera experience. And most of all, my writing transformed ten-fold during this practicum. Overall, I felt like I did a good job. I got along great with all my co-workers, and my news director praised me for my enthusiasm and willingness to learn. I probably couldn’t have picked a better month to do my practicum. Getting the opportunity to work in a newsroom during the COVID-19 pandemic has been unreal and I will carry this experience with me for the rest of my life. I hope to eventually work at CHAT, but I need to work on my read more and get some experience in another market before I come back here. I am very excited to embrace a career in industry and move on to the next aspect of my life.

-Logan Stein

Week 3 CTV News Lethbridge

Week 3 was a little less amazing. We implemented new cleaning precautions, meaning I lost access to the iPad to edit and the smaller cameras. Now I can only use Premiere Pro to edit and I have the second-years’ TV students’ camera to shoot. The camera itself isn’t bad, except it is a hassle to carry and I don’t know it super well. Although it sounds like I am complaining, rest assured I am not. Everyone here has been super accommodating and we are trying our best given the situation. However, everyone here is getting down because of COVID-19. I think we are tired of covering the same thing over and over again, plus the news are rarely positive.

Monday, I reached a roadblock. I spent 2 full hours trying to call people to have an interview. I changed story FOUR times. The first story was about the shortage of computers as everyone must work at home. I called Best Buy, Staples and independent stores and NO ONE would talk to us. I then changed stories and made it about food delivery services. Again, same thing. I then tried to make a story about travelling as Trudeau announced he banned travel from Europe. Same (inexistent) results. Fortunately, Tyler worked on the weekend and he gave me his shots for me to make a pack as he was swamped. I am glad. No one holds me responsible for it so I am glad because I really tried hard.

Tuesday, I came more prepared. I did not want to do the same as Monday. So, I booked an interview in advance. It went great, I was able to shoot, and I finished my pack and web story at 1:30, giving me time to write some VO scripts for Jacquie (the news anchor). She was very thankful.

Remember when I said they gave me the big camera to shoot? Well it is also the only camera that can be connected to the Dejero. Calgary wanted a feed on the U.S border down south, so I did not have anything to do. What I did is I took some initiatives and wrote all the VOs for Jacquie. No one asked me, but I wanted to make life easier for everyone. I also wrote Vanessa’s web story to help her out as we went to cover a press conference in city hall. I helped her shoot. I really tried to make the most of it given the circumstances. Jacquie and Terry were pleased.

Thursday was an odd day. I proposed a story about Tax scams and interviewed a Lethbridge Police Services Sergeant. Unfortunately, I could only get one interview, as I am not allowed to leave alone with the gear (insurance reasons) and we had no way to get to the second interview. The reason I say it was an odd day was because my camera glitched and I was not able to shoot with it. One of the Macros got touched and it would stay out of focus. Terry shot some B-Rolls for me, but I didn’t have the biggest variety of shots as his story was also about LPS so we could not use the same shots. Also, Premiere Pro kept sending error messages when I tried to export, so it was not ready by 3:30. Nonetheless, we made it work. It is not the best pack I have ever made, but “perfect is good, done is better.”

Friday was a difficult day for me. I learned that someone in my family was in contact with someone who got COVID-19, and they do not have the best immune system. I was not on my A-game. I did a VO-Clip-VO on a story about a restaurant owner struggling since he has no incomes (as there are no customers due to the virus) but his the banks will not help him and his landowner expects him to pay in full. I was supposed to make a pack about a Facebook group that is supporting one another, but due to one of my contact was only available at 3:00 (my pack need to be submitted to 3:30), the story was postponed to Monday.

CHAT News Practicum: Week 3

Day 7: Continuously finding new angles for COVID has been easier than I thought. It affects so many different things, it hasn’t been hard finding a story to to cover. I did two vo/clip/tags on different COVID stories, as well as writing web copy. I have become way more efficient in writing quickly and concisely.

Day 8: I have constantly been doing at least 2 vo/clip/tags a day. I wish I would have the opportunity to do more packs, but packs haven’t really been a top priority right now as the news has been changing so quickly. I also get to do a lot of web writing, and conducting interviews for different people.

Day 9: Skype interviews. People aren’t really as comfortable to do in-person interviews as they were earlier in the week…so Skype interviews are the new thing. They are extremely convenient, and I don’t mind doing them. I did two today on two different events that are going to be done virtually. I finished up my day by writing my web-stories.

Day 10: I planned some interviews for Monday, two more skype interviews. I also did a phone interview for a web story I was working on.

Day 11: Today was quite quiet. I stayed on top of web copy all day, I also went out and got shots of different places around the city to showcase how quiet some typically busy roads are. It is honestly still so surreal to me how quiet the city is. As “cheesy” as this might sound, it feels like we are in a movie.

I believe next week is my final week, and I anticipate it will be another busy week, tackling different angles of how COVID-19 will affect locals in the area.

-Logan Stein

Global Lethbridge Practicum: Week 3

This week was interesting, busy, and fun.

On Monday, my pack was on the mental health effects of quarantine and social-distancing. We also had a meeting after work to discuss new procedures for the newsroom. We were all assigned a vehicle and set of gear to take home every night in case we needed to start working remotely. (I would attach my story but I couldn’t find it. There are now a lot of articles about this on the same topic.)

Tuesday I spoke with the superintendents of two school boards in Lethbridge to get updates on how they were handling the school closures. I had an embarrassing mic issue during a scrum, so I had to ask one of the people for a second quick interview once I got it working. I learned how to record from the computer into the system, because I used a Facebook video from one of the school principals in this story.

Probably my favourite day so far was Wednesday. I went to the Alberta-Montana border for a solo road trip. The small town of Coutts was so welcoming, and I loved meeting all the people I did. It felt great to make a story about the town and the people – not just the fact that the border would be closing. The Mayor even emailed me and complimented me on my story.

Another road trip! This time I just went to Taber to interview two people who had commented on our Facebook page about their surgeries. Also a great day, and both of them were so kind. I started to worry a lot this day about being cautious around immunocompromised people, and sanitized everything I touched.

Friday was something not COVID-19-related (not entirely, anyway). Gas prices have been falling dramatically in the last couple of weeks. I spoke to Dan “The Gas Man” McTeague, a former MP over Skype, and it went really well! Did streeters and b-roll, and also a phone interview.

Overall, I’m very glad to be working in a newsroom that cares so deeply about local content, especially during a time like this. We continue to work in the newsroom, diligently sanitizing surfaces regularly, not sharing equipment, staying home if we’re unwell (I’ve been feeling totally fine), wiping down microphones after each interview and having our subjects hold it themselves, etc. I am so thankful I am able to still finish my practicum with Global Lethbridge, as I know some of my peers have been sent home early. Times are scary and weird. This whole situation has made me realize how important a role the media has in being a trusted source of information, and I will remember this forever.

Week 2 and 3 at 660 NEWS

Day 1: First day back I made a pack on a snowfall warning for southern Alberta that was aired right away. Story pitches right now are mainly revolving around different angles of the corona virus. There was also a train de-railment in Swalwell close to Calgary and that community had to be evacuated.

Day 2: Tuesday I got in contact with Garry Maclean a Italian Citizen to talk to him about how all 60 million citizens in Italy are currently under lockdown because of COVID-19 pandemic.

Day 3: Wednesday I did 4 over the phone interviews and made a few packs about day light savings time, spring break vehicle maintenance, and how to prepare your home for potential home break-ins during spring break! I went to City hall for the city council Emergency Meeting about COVID-19.

Day 4: Thursday I did a few more over the phone interview and made some packs for the station about what Calgary transit is doing during the pandemic to keep public transit clean. I also did streeters for both 660 NEWS and City TV and became the last person to do streeters in he building as the RTDNA has advised that news stations stop doing streeters for the time being.

Day 5: Did a pack on how to protect the Elderly and senior homes from the virus, this pack was used over the weekend. As well as did scripts and ax throughout the day for multiple things.

This concludes this week.

Monday of week 3, my last day.

This was unexpectedly my last day at 660 News as a protocol because of Calgary being in a state of emergency. I started off the day by making a pack on what COVID-19 meant for Calgary, specifically casinos, and clubs. I also did an entire pack on what Ski resorts are doing during this pandemic. Overall, I enjoyed my time at 660! The 660 NEWS team is incredibly friendly; it was great experiencing how a newsroom communicates and works during a pandemic.

CHAT News Practicum: Week 2

Day 6: COVID-19 stories have really started to amp up. Monday, March 9th, is kind of like my Friday, considering I work on the weekends. I wrote web copy today, as well as running around shooting interviews for different stories that would be done.

Day 7: When I started work again on Thursday, COVID-19 stories are dominating the headlines. I did a bunch of different interviews today. Not really doing many packs right now, as a lot of the news is breaking constantly…so we are continuously changing the line-up and adding new stories, as well as throwing out the old news. It is an extremely busy time to be in a newsroom to say the least. I had a really long day today, I was working on different things from 9am to 11pm. Finished the evening by covering a junior hockey game, ended up getting home at 11:30 and going straight to bed.

Day 8: I was very burnt out today, but I managed and made the most out of everything. I interviewed the superintendent of the Medicine Hat school division, and a representative for the Medicine Hat College. I also did a lot of writing, I have done a lot of vo/clip tags recently, I feel like I am getting much, much faster at completing them.

Day 9: I was trying to do streeters today, got kicked out of a few places so it was quite difficult to get the clips I needed. I also arranged a few interviews for Monday for a pack that I am starting. Did a lot of web copy, as well as trying to line up an interview for Sunday.

Day 10: I wrote web copy all day, as well as brainstormed some ideas for stories that I could start on Monday, and pick up on Thursday. Overall, probably the most relaxing day I have had since I started my practicum.

It’s a pretty surreal time right now. I have never experienced an event like this that has consumed the media, and everyday life so much. I feel like I can’t get away from it, and it’s been on my mind constantly. Being in a newsroom during this whole situation has been unbelievable. It has been extremely busy, and quite stressful. I feel like I have learned a lot about how tough the industry can be in situations like this, but this is also what reporters live for in a certain way. These huge stories are something that people remember throughout their careers.

-Logan Stein