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

Week 2- CTV Calgary

Hello again friends! Sean Marks here and I’m ready to tell you all about my exciting second week. I know what you’re all thinking… “But Sean, it’s Tuesday, that’s too late to be talking about LAST week.” Well I apologize, I’ve had some technical difficulties on my end and have been struggling to get ye old internet and computer back up and running. Well don’t fret, cause we’re rocking and rolling now and I’m pumped to tell you all about my second week at CTV Calgary… from home.

Day 1- Monday

Well, I’m not going to lie, Monday was pretty low key. I spent the day, as well as some of Sunday, helping Kevin find some interviews for a story he was doing on Wednesday. The story was about a possible shortage of honeybees we may experience in the coming months since most new bees are imported every season from California and New Zealand. The bee shortage could have a big effect on the future crops of Canola as bees play a major role in the pollination of hybrid canola seeds.

Kevin wanted me to find a bee keeper in town he could interview as well as a canola farmer. The bee keeper was easy enough to get a hold of but the real problem came with actually tracking down a canola farmer. I went through large canola companies trying to find a farmer to speak to, and eventually, after a few hours of searching, I finally found someone near Taber who was willing to talk to us. We ended up sending someone from CTV Lethbridge to shoot the interview for us and Kevin got it sent back to him. That was pretty much the Monday.

Day 2- Tuesday

Tuesday definitely had a bit more going on. Kevin was covering a story at the Kerby Centre and how they’re delivering food and medicine to their normal clientele since they’re all older and many of them can’t do it for themselves. I didn’t have to find any interviews for Kevin as he went down to the centre and had them all set up already.

I did what I normally do for him though and transcribed his interviews as well as write the web copy. I also attended the morning meeting as I’ve been doing every morning and listening in to get some tips on story ideas and what to keep an eye out for.

Kerby Web Copy- https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/kerby-centre-in-a-pandemic-empty-but-far-from-idle-1.4887137

Day 3- Wednesday

As I said before, Kevin and I were already working on the Bee story for Wednesdays show, so there wasn’t a whole lot that we needed to do…. aside from the usual morning meeting, transcriptions and web copy. We were able to get that done earlier in the day and took it easy for the most part. A solid day for us both, plus the story turned out great!

Bee Pack/Web Copy- https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/lack-of-bee-imports-due-to-covid-19-will-affect-honey-supply-agriculture-1.4888670

Day 4- Thursday

Thursday started out like every other day… with the morning meeting. However, it was a little different as Kevin wasn’t working that day so I got to spend the day as a chase producer. Now, if you don’t know what that is, let me explain. Basically, a chase producer sets up interviews for reporters and chases leads, hence the name.

I helped out two reporters: Tyson Fedor and Stephanie Thomas. Tyson was looking for some local businesses to speak with about how they’re being affected by COVID-19 financially. I found three businesses for him to speak to, all in the same little strip mall that’s been struggling. Stephanie was trying to find people who were either looking to sell their homes or in the market for one for a story on how COVID has been affecting the real estate market. I was able to find two buyers for her but was unable to find any sellers… until about five o’clock when I got a flood of messages from sellers but it was toolate.

Unfortunately, none of the interviews ended up working out for them. It was a bit of a bummer and had me down for a bit, but they all assured me that there was nothing that we could do and that’s just how the industry works sometimes.

Day 5- Friday

Friday was another Kevin-less day so I joined into the morning meeting and offered my help to anyone who needed it. I ended up writing web copy for Virginia Wright who was doing a story on the changes facing Easter weekend and how churches have been forced to improvise. I also transcribed all her interviews that she got for the day. The story went over really well and went on to the five o’clock news.

Church Pack/Web Copy- https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/drive-in-church-anyone-easter-traditions-improvised-due-to-covid-19-pandemic-1.4892016

All in all, it was a good week. Not quite as busy as the first, but still rewarding. I got a chance to try new things as well as work on some aspects I’d been struggling on. I sat down with Kevin and spoke to him about how the week went as well as how they’ve been doing at the station with everyone working remotely.

Thanks for listening/reading and I’ll chat with you again next week! (Hopefully on time….)

-Sean Marks