This wasn’t just my last week of practicum, but it was my last week of classes at SAIT. I was asked to make a news pack for my supervisor that also made it into the final show–and I had to put it all together in an hour because it wasn’t really up to snuff the first time around. I was actually proud of the result for the first time since the start of the quarantine.
We had our last Newsfile class watch, and it ended somewhat somber. I still had to finish my demo website so I couldn’t stick around for a lot of it either.
There were a lot of tears from what I was still there to see. James ended the last show in such an eloquent nice way too–which somewhat added to the sting. It was difficult not being able to really engage with the class as we watched and talked.
But it’s not all about feeling bad. I think everyone shared the same feeling of accomplishment coming out of a semester that had some added challenge tacked on–especially the instructors who deserve some props for getting things together for the students on such short notice. It wasn’t easy to get everything done, and with the helpline not being helpful or online frequently (I know they have a lot of people to help) it was made pretty difficult to get things together at times. I was extremely anxious going into my last few assignments until someone at the Adobe help desk was able to set me up with a loophole for getting creative cloud back.
It’s rough looking back on pre-quarantine because in many ways it felt like I wasn’t grateful for how much more facility we had over what we could do, how and when. I remember just before the quarantine started some of us spoke about how it felt like something disastrous was coming up–like how the air gets thicker before a storm. It hasn’t been a disaster, but it’s been hard. Knowing that we may not get a chance to be a relatively full class together again will be hard too. Now it’s over, and it’s been a few days of listless, zero-activity days. I go on walks when I can, and get fresh air, talk to people online or over the phone, but something about it is so much more confining–even though it’s all what I’d likely be doing right now anyway.
This is my last “assignment” for the class, and I was putting it off a bit because I don’t know if I’m alright with it all being truly “over”, you know? But it is.
It’s been fun, but nothing fun is permanent. Thanks RTBN, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat (that is not a request to fail me please don’t do that).
I can’t believe it’s over already, and I’m not just talking about the practicum itself. It’s weird to think that this blog I’m writing right now is the last thing I will be doing at SAIT. The last two years have been the most rewarding of my life and I’m so excited to say that I am now an official college graduate! I may or may not have put off writing this final blog past since it is the last thing I have to do for the program and I’m both happy and sad about it.
As for the practicum, this past week was pretty standard. I did the usual writing web copy, transcribing clips, wrote a VO/CVO, did some chase producing, and joined in on the morning meetings. Let’s break it down day-by-day, SHALL WE!!!
Day 1- Monday
Over the weekend, Kevin asked if I could try and get a hold of a couple local artists who started an event called the Quarantine International Film Festival (QIFF). They ended up receiving over 600 submissions from 54 countries worldwide, which was far more than they were ever expecting.
Kevin was hoping I could arrange interviews and see if they would shoot some B-roll over the weekend due to social distancing. When I got a hold of them, they were all gung-ho to do the interview and were even okay with Kevin doing it at their place, so he was able to shoot some B-roll himself. He shot the story that morning and I spent the day writing his web copy and transcribing the interviews. That was done around one and I spent the rest of the day setting up the next days story.
On Tuesday, Kevin covered a story on YYC Grocery Delivery, a volunteer group organized U of C students helping deliver groceries to those in need during COVID-19. They do it free of charge and focus on helping those who are high risk. I spent the back half of Monday contacting the group and organizing interviews and shoot times for Kevin. I also did a pre-interview over the phone with the project leader so I could get a head start on the web copy. In the end, I was able to set Kevin up with 3 interviews; a volunteer, a client and one of the organizers. I arranged Kevin to meet the volunteer in Shawnessy to shoot a little B-roll of her shopping for the groceries and conduct the interview. He then went with her to the clients house and got more B-roll there and interviewed the recipient of the groceries. After that, he made his way down to interview the Volunteer coordinator for YYC Grocery Delivery. He was able to get all parts done and shot by 11:30 and then sent me the interviews to transcribe. I did that, sent the transcriptions back to him and wrote the web copy. All-in-all, Tuesday worked out very well and we were both done before three.
Kevin ended up working on something else for the rest of the week and didn’t need my help so I assisted Kevin Fleming for the Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, KF was working on a story in Black Diamond about a family run film and photography company that is using their spare time to make an amateur cooking show called “Quarantine Cooking”. The show had started going viral and it made for a great feel good story! I did the usual transcriptions and web copy writing for him. I also started working on a VO/CVO but my computer started having some issues so he said not to worry about it. The story went on the five and six news.
On Thursday, KF went up to Drumheller to cover a story that was given to him by a company called Dinosaur Valley Studios. DVS normally makes dinosaur and animal props for movies but was given a new task back a central Alberta village called Rochon Sands. They were making a 25-foot Northern Pike for the Summer getaway to put in their main marina. Once again, I did the usual transcriptions and web copy and was able to write the VO/CVO for him which was used in the 6 o’clock news. It was fun working with Kevin Fleming, and I think he really appreciated all the help since he was doing a lot of driving for his two stories.
This was my last and final day of practicum and since Kevin wasn’t working I arranged to do my final Skype chat with him, which is posted below. I has spoken to Jeff Little, the News Director, the day before and asked him if it was alright if I only worked till noon since Kevin wasn’t working and I was hoping to jump in to the final group chat for school. He didn’t have a problem with it, so that was awesome.
During the morning meeting, I thanked everyone for all they’ve done and let them known how appreciative I was of being given the opportunity to help with such a great station. I then offered my help and ended up getting two jobs to do before noon.
Firstly, I was asked to contact multiple pharmacies and ask them about their Ventolin (asthma medication) supply as there was a release that went out highlighting the shortage on Ventolin around the city. I also asked about PPE masks and gloves for the pharmacists as last week there was a shortage on those as well and pharmacists were unable to get any for themselves. I ended up contacting eight pharmacies and they all gave me mixed answers which was great. I sent my findings to the news team and started on task two.
For my second task I was asked to contact SAIT, MRU and U of C and ask what their plans are for kids summer camps since all events have been cancelled until the end of August. It was for a story Glenn Campbell was doing on sports around Calgary and the impact the announcement would have. I ended up hearing back from MRU and SAIT but not U of C. They pretty much just said that they were figuring it out and would have a proper answer the coming week. Then I was all done and jumped in the morning meeting.
So that’s it. Like I said before, it was an amazing practicum and I learned a lot! Way more than I thought I would going into it because of doing it from home. I feel like my writing has grown and I’m more comfortable reaching out to people for interviews. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my adventure at SAIT and am so excited for what the future holds! Thanks for following along during this journey. Till next time!
We started the day with editorial meetings, I suggested two story ideas namely, the annual city-wide street clean up during a lock down and a follow up on the Canadian governments CERB program for students.
Later in the day I went through a vetting process of my footages and scripts for the ethnic grocery demand story. The producer asked me to reshoot my on-camera footages before editing the pack.
Rest of the day was used to pull news items on inception.
After the usual morning briefings, I went out to shoot my on Camera and started editing the pack. Finished and sent the pack to the producer for review.
Worked on inception as usual.
I attended morning editorial briefing. Afterwards I asked to prepare to be interviewed for a story on the CERB program for students.
The rest of the afternoon was for pulling stories from Inception.
Outside of the editorial meeting nothing much happened on this day. I was winding up the practicum. Supervising producer reviewed my pack and said it was good to go.
Day #5 Last day of practicum. Said my goodbyes nothing much
It feels like just a matter of weeks ago that I walked into orientation and Lisa suggested I sit beside Connor and Zach to get to know some of my soon-to-be classmates. One of the first things Connor told me was that he was from Brazil. My dumb ass was too nervous and quiet to call him out on his blatant lie, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget feeling like a complete tool when I seemingly believed him. It still doesn’t feel real that our time at SAIT has completely come to a close. That said, let’s get right into this blog post thing, “shall we?”
It was another laid back week for myself. Adam was back on his normal schedule (9 am- 6 pm ish) and I made sure to reach out to him every morning. Of course, Monday and Tuesday’s are his days off and so I really only kicked things into gear on Wednesday. He was once again covering the COVID-19 outbreak at the Cargill meat packing plant in Highriver. I did some research into the story in hopes of finding information to pass along to Adam, but there wasn’t much out there that hasn’t already been reported by Global.
As we did each week, Adam and I had a long chat over Skype on Thursday. I asked him some final question about how he feels this pandemic will change the industry and shape the future of broadcasting. I was also curious to find out what he learned about himself. Unfortunately, I ran into some technical troubles with the VPN and Premiere Pro so I was unable to post a video update. We then talked about a job interview for a position in Fort St. John that I had lined up for the following day.
For the rest of the week, I was more so focused on the potential job opportunity in Fort St. John at CJDC TV. I still texted Adam in the morning to check in and see if I could help out at all, but I was putting a lot more energy into preparing for the interview. It was conducted over the phone and I thought it went well. The news director at the station, Randi-Marie Adams, was easy to talk to and really sold me on the fact that I would have the opportunity to do a bit of everything at the station. She offered me the position, but I didn’t know enough to lock it in right then and there. I told her I would get back to her within 24 hours.
Again, I texted Adam in the morning, but he was working on a story that he didn’t need any assistance with at all. I then, once again, tunred my focus to the gig with Bell Media. I called Randi-Marie at around 11:30 am and accepted her offer. I am super excited to move to Northern B.C. considering I don’t know anyone there and I’m not at all familiar with the region. I think it will be a great first job and I know that I am going to fit in nicely. Putting my skills to the test is something that I have been looking forward to for such a long time.
Well, this wasn’t much of a “practicum blog”, I suppose it’s more of a “goodbye” blog post. My time at SAIT changed my life for the better and I was able to meet some of the most wonderful people.
Wow. I’m done. This has been a very odd past 4 weeks for the world and I’m glad I got to complete my practicum in the traditional way. Peace River Broadcasting had some significant changes throughout the past four weeks, starting with many layoffs due to COVID-19 and income loss because of low advertising. On April 18, the downtown of Peace River flooded as well as the basement of the station. Despite everything going on that has affected the company, we have been able to have quite good days here and there’s always something to talk about. I only had three work days this week, so you could say I finished on a good note!
The weather here has been changing very rapidly causing major flooding all over our region. The rivers and creeks have broke, lots of flooding of land, roads, etc. I did the top of the hour newscasts today and hung out with everyone at the station, it was pretty slow. Made a few packs and scripts.
Was a more productive day, got a web story done and wrote quite a few things for the top of the hour and such. As always the news director and I listened into the province’s daily briefing to hear the new COVID-19 numbers, after a month it’s getting old hearing reporters ask the same questions. I’m just glad I am not in an area where infection rates are high, or have many at all.
My last day at the station 😦 My bosses were all sad they couldn’t keep me on the team right now cause there’s not enough money coming into the station due to low advertising. I attended the last class with my fellow classmates and teachers, and I had to finish out the rest of my work day. I did a web story on a solar panel farm potentially coming to town and the top of the hour news.
A lot of my friends up here said their parents and themselves will miss hearing me give them the news, which made me sad. I find it funny how many of my friends parents enjoy listening to me. Anyways I had a great time at Peace River Broadcasting for my practicum, my bosses could always lend a hand if I needed it and a great source of entertainment on slow days. I’m just happy I got to work throughout what I hope was the peak of this global health pandemic. I can now say I am done Broadcast News… it was quite a time and I’m gonna miss a lot of the faces, but I know i will never forget them. Until next time – Erika.
It is I, Sean Marks, back at it again to give you the up and up on how my third week of practicum has been. I can’t believe how quickly it’s flown by, geez. It feels like just yesterday I was calling in to the first morning meeting all nervous and now it’s just part of my normal, everyday routine. This week was a pretty busy one for the most part though. I got the chance to do a few more CVO’s, write more copy and even go out and help shoot a story that I pitched (obviously keeping with the social distancing measures of course). It was a pretty good week…. so lets get into it.
Day 1- Monday
Monday was pretty uneventful to be honest. Kevin told me on Sunday about the story he would be doing and just needed me to write the web copy the next day. However, he ended up writing it the night before so it was ready to be published Monday morning as it turned out to be time sensitive and he wanted to be the first to break the story. He then asked me to set up some interviews for him for Tuesday for another story about a dog sled company in Canmore. I wasn’t able to get the interviews set up (probably because it was Easter Monday) but it didn’t end up making a difference as he came down with something and ended up not working the next day anyways.
Day 2- Tuesday
With Kevin being sick on Tuesday, I offered my help to anyone who needed it at the station. The assignment editor, Kevin Nimmock, ended up giving me two jobs to do that day. I ended up interviewing the CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre, Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, and putting together a CVO on how they’ve been doing since resorting to online sessions with their clients. I also interviewed a volunteer for the Distress Centre Calgary who was organizing their 50 year anniversary and did a CVO for that as well. I wrote copies for both stories but they didn’t end up going to web. It was a super productive and fulfilling day and probably one of the busiest ones I’d had to date.
You can watch both CVO’s at the following link. Distress is at 12:48 and Counselling at 30:57.
Kevin and I were back at it again on Wednesday and were assigned a story on Post-secondary schools in Calgary. It came from a tip off that the U of C was preparing to go online for the fall semester but nothing was confirmed. We were both unsure of whether the story would work or not since we couldn’t get a straight answer but ended up focusing on contingency plans that were in place for not only U of C but also MRU and SAIT. I transcribed Kevin’s interviews and wrote the web copy for the story. I was also in charge of setting up a possible interview with an administrator at SAIT. I contacted Chris Gerritsen but was unable to get an interview that day. He did give us a statement that we used in the story and the web copy.
On Thursday, Kevin asked if I would like to join him in shooting the story that I had pitched to him the previous week. It was on a Calgary company called YYC Princesses that normally attends children’s birthday parties as princesses from Disney movies. However, with COVID-19 and social distancing they were forced to make some changes. They are now doing what they call Princess Trains where they visit kids at home and on their birthdays and sing and chat with them from the street. They also have an online presence now with something called Princess TV which you can watch on their Facebook page.
Kevin had me conduct the interviews and gave me a copy of the footage to cut my own pack to use for my demo. The story will air on CTV next Tuesday.
Day 5- Friday
Friday was another somewhat slow day as Kevin usually has Fridays off. I did the usual call in to the morning meeting and offered my help but didn’t hear anything for a few hours.
I ended up helping Timm Bruch with a story he was doing on Jason Kenney and the pipeline. He wanted me to find a clip of Kenney from a press conference he did talking about how Alberta needs north of $20 billion to get back on track. I had some difficulty finding the exact clip he was talking about and when I finally did, one of the web editors had tracked it down for him. I did end up finding another clip from a phone interview Kenney did with BNN Bloomberg where he said something similar which I sent to Timm as well.
And there you have it. Three weeks in the bag, one to go! I didn’t get a chance to do a sit-down with Kevin this week so we’re going to go over the back half of the practicum for my fourth and final blog post! As always, thanks again for reading along and seeing how things are going with this lad. Catch you next time!
I’ve been putting my blogs in the wrong place for the last two entrees. Hopefully this is the right one this time, otherwise I’m a lot worse at this whole thing than I thought. Tell me if I should move the old ones to the same spot I put this one in. Unless it’s wrong.
With the weather getting better, it’s been easier to leave the house to walk the dog, though the paranoia of keeping distance from people is still always at the back of the mind.
I compared show line-ups with my supervisor this week, getting tips and tricks regarding how what is put where in industry. Setting a line-up is mostly the same, as is timing (so good news, everyone in simulation next year). With the current state of the world I had lined up the show in blocks of COVID-19 news, a break, local news, another break, national news, a final break and sports by the end. Small tips like what to use as a kicker, what to drop and why (Joanne and I agreed on what would be dropped, but for different reasons–naturally hers made more sense than mine).
They now have a dedicated live feed-in for skype at Global Calgary, and I imagine that’s the standard across most stations. It sits right next to the live feeds, which are the only stand-ups I’ve been seeing on television lately.
We had our first last class of the program on Friday with Shane, and even though I’m getting emotional thinking about it, it was definitely difficult to put that feeling together for me at the time. Communicating through the screen doesn’t elicit the same empathetic response that you’d feel face to face. We can’t do “one last hug” or anything like that. It all has to be digital, and it’s hard. I miss that feeling, and I miss the class–inevitably when everyone has taken off in their careers I’m probably going to be the one that sets up a deliberate reunion–and that might be the first time we get to see each other in a group since the quarantine started.
It’s a strange concept to try and wrap your head around.
This was a very light day, coming off from Easter. The only assignment I engaged in outside of the daily editorial meetings was to pull news items on Inception from the National column into CN6 for the News Anchor for later at 6pm and 11pm.
After the morning briefings, I attended a virtual training of the BT (Breakfast Television) program. Since I have been working from home, I was also given a virtual tour of the CityNews room and equipment’s.
I later on pitched a story on ethnic grocery outlets and was asked to write a story board on this for approval.
The rest of the day was spent going over news items on inception and pulling from the national run down into CN6 for later on at 6pm and 11pm.
I attended editorial briefing. Afterwards I spent the later hours of the morning making calls for story appointments relating to the ethnic grocery stories.
The rest of the afternoon was for pulling stories from Inception.
Was part of the morning meetings. Suggested story ideas to the editor
Between 12noon and 2:30pm I was out to the NE to get video footages and clips from an ethnic grocery store.
Attended the 3pm editorial meeting and spent the rest of the afternoon pulling news items on Inception.
Attended editorial meetings at 9am and 10am.
Had a second appointment to get video footages and clips at another ethnic grocery store.
After editorial meeting at 3pm spent the afternoon on Inception and then writing a script for the ethnic story for vetting.
On Monday, I listened to Andrea’s morning cast and attended the morning meeting. After her shift, Andrea sent me a list of scripts to do an aircheck.
On Tuesday, I sent in a list of story ideas for me to pursue for the week to get on air, and I also recorded the scripts Andrea sent and gave the audio to her. I also listened to Andrea’s cast and attended the morning meeting.
Wednesday I listened to Andrea’s cast and attended the morning meeting.
Thursday, Andrea got back to me about my story ideas and told me that she wanted me to cut and write scripts for an interview she did already to get on the air for Monday. I also listened to her cast and attended the morning meeting.
On Friday Andrea told me she was trying to pursue a story about Midwives during this pandemic, and how people are maybe looking to do home births more than hospital births with everything going on. I reached out to a midwife I knew to try and get an interview, but she was too busy as she had three births on Friday.
I can’t believe we’re already at the end of my third week on practicum. This week was a bit different in that Adam was on the morning shift and didn’t need any assistance with his stories. That said, he has been incredibly helpful with his feedback, and I feel like I’m learning a lot. It’s been fun to follow news outlets and how they’re covering the COVID-19 outbreaks. Obviously, this pandemic can be tough to follow. There is no shortage of emotional, heart-breaking stories, and it can be depressing to watch multiple newscasts in a day. Still, I’m also feeling a bit thankful that I’m getting set to break into the industry at such an exciting time. With that said, let’s jump into what my practicum looked like this week!
Day One: As always, Adam’s days off are on Monday and Tuesday, so my “day one” kicked off on Wednesday. I woke up in time to watch the morning news at 6 am and stayed tuned in to watch three of Adam’s live hits. He has his first right at six, and then he does one every half hour. On Wednesday, he was covering the COVID-19 outbreak at the Cargill Meat Plant in High River. I was impressed by his delivery despite being up at what I would consider a wildly early time ( I know, I know, my sleep schedule will fluctuate drastically when I’m in the industry, but come on. I’m on “quarantine time” so it seems earlier than it is.) I then got a call from Lisa at roughly 12:30 pm, asking if I could cover a live address from Naheed Neshi. I threw together a pack for Newsfile and sent it in. It was a fun exercise, and I was proud of how I was able to deliver a full pack in a timely manner.
Day Two: After watching Adam’s live hits from stampede park for the morning show, Adam and I had our weekly Skype call. I asked some questions about how viewers are reacting, what the dynamic among staff members was like (helping one another, etc.), and I wanted to know more about how his live hits work. As always, he gave me some valuable insight on how his schedule works and how the newsroom operates. I then sent him some material, including the pack I had put together for Newsfile to get some feedback.
Day Three: On Friday, I heard back from Adam regarding my pack and some scripts. I also asked if he could take a look at my website and he gave me some pointers on the stories I have up online. I was pleased with his response. He told me a few things I could work on and let me in on some keys they focus on at Global when putting together packs. He also said he believes I’m on the right path and told me that I would have no worries finding a job when this all settles down. I haven’t really been stressing too much about employment, but it was still an excellent confidence booster.
Day Four: Saturday was by far the slowest of the news days. Adam was still doing his morning thing, so I watched the show as always. I then scrubbed through our recorded interview from Thursday and picked out my favourite clips and began a script for my video update. Again, it was slow, so I decided to take some time to make some tweaks to my website. I then sent out emails to Kyle Bukauskas and Jake Edwards with some demo material and asked them for feedback. I heard back from Jake and had an uninterrupted chat with him on the phone. He basically told me to try and work on sounding more conversational, which is definitely something I’m working to improve.
Day Five: That’s today! I’ve just spent the morning/afternoon working on this blog post and video. I usually don’t procrastinate, but given the circumstances, it’s nice having a sizable project to keep me busy for an extended period. I like just sitting down and powering everything out. Sure, I could have chipped away throughout the week, but then I would be bored right now watching a movie or something. This way, I have a full few hours of productivity. ‘Ja feel me?
My biggest takeaway from this week is just how flexible the news industry can be. I find it so impressive that Global Calgary, a major market station, can operate with only two or three employees at the station. I think newsrooms around the world are going to benefit from this whole experience in the long-term. Based on stories that I’ve seen and heard, reporters are getting far more creative to make their stories work. It’s interesting to watch.