Week 4- CTV Calgary

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.


Day 2- Tuesday

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.


Day 3- Wednesday

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.


Day 4- Thursday

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.


Day 5- Friday

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!

-Sean Marks

Working during COVID-19 vs staying at home

COVID-19 has effected everyone around the world one way or another. Many people are stuck at home quarantined with little to do in terms of entertainment. For some people, they were able to keep working because the business they are working at was deemed an essential service by the government.

“It’s nice to be able to get up and go to work.”

Some business that have been deemed essential services are Retail, Construction, Agricultural and Horticultural. “It’s nice to be able to get up and go to work, and there isn’t a lot of people out on the road. So, its a little bit more quiet than usually, its a nicer pace.” Said Kim Zaharia a Receptionist at CBI Manufacturing when asked what is it like working during a pandemic.

CBI Manufacturing as put in a plexiglass shield around the reception desk and making sure that staff cleanup and use disinfectant as often as they can.

Kim also says that the easiest park about working during a pandemic is being able to have that routine in the morning and being able to stay busy.

“The job I was on has been postponed for now.”

Most people have been laid off or fired because of COVID-19 and have been financially impacted by this pandemic and don’t know when it will end. “The job I was on, has been postponed for now. There will be a time, when we will return to work on that job. everyday that goes by without making any money is one less day to make money.” Said Quentin Zaharia a contractor when asked how this pandemic has impacted him.

People have been starting to find ways to keep themselves busy like finding a new hobby or learning a new skill., and have been able to make the time go by easier.

By: Declan Zaharia

Will the music industry survive the coronavirus?

Nevik working in the New West Entertainment studio

The music industry is being dramatically affected by the coronavirus pandemic, from live events being cancelled to recording studios having to close their doors. Local music producers and artists in Calgary have had to find loopholes around self isolation in order to keep their businesses running.

“…I was gonna DJ for it again this time, then it got cancelled.”

Luke Lucasvodopija, otherwise know as Nevik, is a producer, DJ, and Rapper working out of the New West Entertainment studio in Calgary. Although he is keeping a positive mindset, Nevik has faced a lot of hardships because of the pandemic. He was booked to DJ many concerts and live events this year saying “Recess was a show that was run by YYC Records and a bunch of local artists were showcasing their talent on it and I DJ’d for it last time, I was gonna DJ for it again this time, then it got cancelled.” Nevik had to leave the New West Entertainment studio and find a way to create music from home. Producers and DJ’s don’t just get their income from concerts and working with clients, they also gain a profit from selling their own merchandise. Nevik has found an easy way to continue selling his merchandise in Calgary despite the difficulties around social distancing “If somebody wants to reserve some merch for me to drop off whenever they’re able to or if somebody wants me to just deliver to their door step and just like walk to the end of their street and be like e-transfer.”

“There’s more at stake than just money at this point.”

Although for others, money isn’t the most important thing to be focused on right now. Rapper, Producer, and Owner of the New West Entertainment studios Adam Massiah says “keeping the business running, honestly we’re able to do what we were doing before but at the same point and time money isn’t everything. There’s more at stake than just money at this point.” Massiah’s mother is in the high risk category for contracting the virus as she recently had an operation on her lungs and the majority of Massiah’s time is spent taking care of her. Although he has a lot on his plate, Massiah has taken advantage of self isolation saying he’s been able to “…make some solid music because I actually have time to sit down and settle with my thoughts.”

The coronavirus pandemic has tested the limits of every industry, but the Calgary music community seem to be a very optimistic group as they continue to create new music at home and work around the difficulties of self isolation.

By Aela Herbert

Alberta COVID-19 scenarios causing worry for people with health issues

Jill brazier puffing on inhaler

Premier Jason Kenny revealed shocking numbers based on the possible outcomes of COVID-19 in the province. If preventative measures are not followed, the province could face as many as 1,000,000 potential cases and 6,600 deaths. These projections are further worrying people living in the province with poor health conditions.

“I’m extra cautious”

Currently the province has over 2,800 COVID-19 cases and 55 deaths. Based on the governments projections the numbers could soon steeply rise. This is causing concern for minor heart attack victim Jonathan Hector as his age and current health condition are at high risk to the virus. The 63 year old is changing his entire routine to try and prevent any chance of contracting the virus. “I’ve been staying home lots, social distancing. The only time I go out is when i have to get groceries or for [heart] treatment. I’m extra cautious.”

“It’s doing more harm”

Even though the virus is primarily harming older aged people, younger people such as Jillian Brazier can be hugely effected by COVID-19. Brazier is 20 years old and has bad asthma, which she medicates with an inhaler. If she were to contract the virus, her lungs would not be able to fend off the harsh effect COVID-19 would have on her lungs. Brazier has a strong message for people that are not taking preventative measures to fend off the virus. “It might not effect you but you could be passing [the virus] to people that could die potentially from this. It’s not smart to be going anywhere when it’s doing more harm.”

There are many more people in Alberta like Hector and Brazier that face medical challenges. The only way to keep them safe is follow guidelines and regulations set by Federal and Provincial Governments. The virus could amount to numbers that the Government projected leading to a substantial loss of lives and will take its toll on our province.

-Calvin Hector

High school milestones cancelled due to covid-19

“It was something that like you look forward to like, I don’t know, probably since junior high school.”

As the covid-19 pandemic prevents school classes, and move online, exams aren’t the only events being cancelled. High school seniors around the country are missing out on all the milestones that come with graduating high school. The class of 2020 graduates will not get to walk the stage, attend their graduation banquet in fancy gowns and tuxes, or even say goodbye to the people they spent 3 years with.

“I’m hoping that we’ll do something for those grade twelves once the isolation orders are lifted, but at this point in time, that’s a pretty significant milestone that these students aren’t getting to mark.”

Teens spend everyday for 3 or more years with the same class mates and teachers, working everyday with the purpose of graduating high school and going out into the real world. This hard work is supposed to be recognized and celebrated with the traditional cap and gown ceremony, and formal banquet.

Parents spend hundreds of dollars on dresses and suits. Many girls pick out their dresses months in advance, most grade 12’s have already purchased their attire and now have no dance to attend.

Luna Sinclair, a grade 12 student in Calgary said that the she and all of her friends had been waiting for graduation for years and stated how disappointed all of her class is, “It was something that like you look forward to like, I don’t know, probably since junior high school”.

“I won’t be able to see them except like during the summer of next year. So it’s off that way.” Luna said when talking about seeing her friends next year.

Grade 12 teachers understand the cancellation of events, but many believe that diploma exams are the least important milestone for graduating students.

Nicole Cameron, a high school humanities teacher in Calgary explained that in an emergency situation like the coronavirus pandemic, diploma exams hold no importance, but missing milestones like graduation will impact students for the rest of their lives. She hopes that after isolation orders are lifted, the school will be able to hold some sort of celebration of the 2020 class, but worries with so many kids leaving to post secondary, it won’t be possible.

The class of 2020 graduates will undoubtedly be prepared for a changing world of technology, after facing the complications of online learning, like no one else. But with the character and resilience these teens are learning, they are also missing out on such a universal experience. This class will not relate to so many other Canadians on what it feels like to walk the stage and shake hands with the principle, after years of homework and cramming for exams.

Sydney Chisholm

Restaurant workers are not surprised by layoffs

Many businesses across the country have been forced to layoff employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I kind of saw it coming…”

The Federal Government has requested the closure of non-essential businesses and an industry that has been impacted is restaurants and bars. Drake Stefan is a bartender at National on 10th and could sense there was a potential for him to be out of a job. “I kind of saw it coming because the weekend leading up to the week that we did end up being laid off was extremely slow, so I thought it was only a matter of time before that had happened.”

“It definitely has affected me quite a bit…”

Drake’s girlfriend Tori Darr has also been impacted by these layoffs as she is a fulltime server at Leopold’s Tavern. Tori has been saving up to move to Australia in the new year, but with the ongoing pandemic, her plans may have to be put on hold. “It definitely has affected me quite a bit because I am a server, so I do rely on tips for my most income. I was saving up for Australia, but obviously that might have to be pushed back…”.

Like many employees who have found themselves without a job, both Drake and Tori are hopeful to return to work sooner, rather than later.

– Garret Stefan

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced places of worship to adapt.

Harvest Hills Alliance Church via phone 19/04/20

The ongoing pandemic that has been set from the COVID-19 outbreak has forced many businesses essential and non-essential into a difficult situation. But how has it affected places of worship or religious gatherings?

“It’s been challenging not impossible, but certainly different.”

I took a stroll up to Harvest Hills Alliance where I met with Rev. Myron Siemens. He said “It’s been challenging not impossible, but certainly different.” Rev. Siemens says the impact of COVID-19 has been immense since their church is not only a place of gathering for worship, but a shelter for those in need. The church helps the less fortunate by providing groceries or assisting some financially and even providing counselling for those with mental health struggles.

Rev. Myron Siemens captured during via live-stream 19/04/20

“Pull together what I believe is an effective live-stream.”

The church is not struggling as bad as they could have, since prior to the pandemic they opted to support donations electronically. This was a huge step forward as there are times they feel as though they are a tad bit behind in that area. Example of this is the fact that they had to turn the levers to ‘defcon 5’. Harvest had no way to live-stream or have the correct equipment to do so. “Less than 24 hours actually, we were able to pull it together using some fairly simple hardware, we were nevertheless able to pull together what I believe is an effective live-stream.” says Rev. Siemens.

Which is what the church believes to be a miracle being able to switch to this format overnight. Since the streaming has been going well they seek to keep it going into the future.

As Harvest continues to do what they can to social distance and battle this pandemic it’s still an ongoing struggle. Many of the amenities they offer cannot be active due to the gatherings sanction and many other laws in place too prevent spread of the virus. The church does aim to do whatever they can to assist the congregation and the surrounding communities moving forward, but it will be different not impossible.

~Daniel Siemens

SAIT NewsFile

Working during a pandemic

Due to the COVID-19 virus spread the majority of businesses have had to close and lay off their staff but some businesses that have been deemed as essential by the government have remained open, which means work for a few people during the pandemic. Grocery, liquor, cannabis stores and gas stations are just a few of the businesses that remain open during this time for the benefit of the public. Another business that has remained open is a company called FalkBuilt, FalkBuilt is building modular ICU components and therefore has been deemed essential during this time.

I honestly just feel grateful to still be working..

Mark Prentice is one of the few who is still working during this very trying time, he is a maintenance electrician at FalkBuilt, when interviewed about what it is like to work during a pandemic, Prentice said “Given that so many people have lost their jobs and their income I honestly just feel grateful to still be working and FalkBuilt is doing some very meaningful work right now.” Prentice goes on to say that he understands that financial assistance has been provided for those who have lost their jobs but he makes a lot more money working for FalkBuilt than he would if he were to claim the emergency unemployment benefits given by the government. Prentice also says that although he really is happy to be working right now he is also nervous about the virus itself “My wife had pleurisy as a child which has made her very susceptible to viruses such as COVID-19 and that does concern me a fair bit but I am taking all precautions to ensure that I do not put her at risk.” Prentice says working during a pandemic is definitely not easy but as long as we all do what we are told everything should be just fine.

I still have work yes but definitely not enough to survive on

For some people, working during a pandemic is very difficult and not work the risk. Christiaan Everts is a Cannasuer at a local dispensary and he says “I still have work yes but definitely not enough to survive on, I maybe get two or three shifts a week, I would be making more money if I were to just stay home and claim CERB.” Everts says that what he is making currently is not enough to cover all his bills he says he feels as though he is working a student job for some extra cash rather than a job he needs for sustainability he says it just is not worth the risk of getting incredibly sick but he is unsure what to do because you can not leave your job willingly and claim emergency funds from the government.

Working during the COVID-19 pandemic is very nerve racking for some and some wish they did have the option to just stay home and keep safe but when you are a worker of an essential business that is not always an option. Others do not find it too horrible like Mark Prentice but the fear of getting sick or of getting loved ones sick is still a factor.

written by Amy-Ellen Prentice

Teaching and learning from home.

Kindergarten student learning from home

Teachers have been delivering classes from home and students from kindergarten to post-secondary have been learning from home in Alberta; because of the social distancing guidelines set out by the Alberta government, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Teachers are concerned over some students not having access to technology at a given time due to their parents being essential workers.

“. . . I have deadlines”

“That poses a problem for me because I have deadlines, in school that wasn’t a issue, because I would be able to tell the kids this what you’re doing and give them recourses and class time work on that, on the particular assignment” said Reetu Atwal, a grade 1-12 English teacher.

Atwal says, as a parent it is hard as well. As her daughter, who is in kindergarten, was not prepared to do online studying.

“. . .but she’s not understanding that’s school now”

“For her looking at a screen and seeing her teacher on the screen is like a joke at times, or it’s just like having fun, like watching a YouTube video. But she’s not understanding that this is what school is now.” said Reetu Atwal, a grade 1-12 English teacher.”

Atwal says, teachers need to be patient while teaching younger children; and need to take a creative approach while teaching, as students have short attention spans.

Though, post secondary students have different worries as they are concerned about online schooling affecting their learning.

“. . . This puts us students at a disadvantage”

“Our lectures are pre-recorded and teachers are swamped with emails, so a reply to our questions will take more than a couple of days. This puts us students at a disadvantage” said Jasreet Jawanda a University of Calgary student.

In post secondary not receiving quick responses regarding lectures is challenging as it is time for finals.

For online schooling to be a concrete plan for the future both students and teachers need more direction in remote learning and teaching. As currently, students and teachers are having a hard time adjusting to this situation.

– Prina Atwal

Coronavirus pandemic changing Canadian’s work lives in a big way

Social distancing is a new term brought to us by the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of us are trying to navigate a ‘new normal’ during these unprecedented times, we realize how creative and resilient people really are. Working from home is a new reality for many and employers are trying to make that work for different jobs.

We dont have face to face meetings anymore,

Patti Shirkey, Director of Medical Imaging Rural Saskatchewan had to make a lot of changes to her daily work schedule. A usual day would include traveling to one of her 68 imaging sites across the province, but now all her work is done from home. “We don’t have any face to face meetings anymore so all my work is now done by email, the phone or by Webex.” says Shirkey.

Working from home is not an option for many people, and employers have had to take new precautionary steps to keep essential workers safe and healthy.

Even our employees are now in different buildings

Charles Shirkey, Building Operator, has had to make significant changes to the usual day to day operations. Making sure cleaning is done more regularly and supplies are always heavily stocked. Shirkey explains how employees are being split up, “Even our employees are now in different buildings, all working kind of separately rather than as a team so we can stay healthy and safe.”

-Hayley Shirkey