May, 2013 back to Dec, 2009: (nothing)
Sometimes stories aren't news, and sometimes we don't write them.
For a recent story, I spent time in an H1N1 vaccination clinic in Ottawa. Prior to opening hour, the nurses' supervisor gave a pep talk “off the record.” (In this case, I can write that the meeting took place but not what was said. This sort of ethical agreement is important to journalists and their sources.)
I assure you: nothing damning happened. There was no talk of covered-up vaccine-related deaths and they didn't discuss plans to gain mind control over visitors by injecting surreptitious serums. It was mere procedure: a few tips to make nurses' jobs easier.
Why the secrecy? Because the media (and, by extension, citizens who listen) are deemed uppity: they assault the slightest mishap—an allergic reaction, for instance—at reality's expense.
Hot on the heels of Graph Newsmagazine, we green Carleton journalism students have launched two new sites in a class project: Hartwells and Ottawa Off-Centre. I am a part of the Hartwells team; our two sites are not competitive. Both websites are updated frequently on Tuesdays.
Hartwells is different from Graph News: while Graph News is run by students who aim to maintain it over the entirety of our two-year program, Hartwells will probably only last until the end of this semester. Its transience should by no means imply that it is not of the highest quality: already Hartwells showcases some fantastic journalism.
As journalism students at Carleton, we have the enviable yet sometimes frustrating duty of tracking down sources in networks we barely comprehend, so that our stories can be better-informed and more lively.
The task is often rewarding: I have talked with fascinating people, both in person and on the telephone, whom I never would have imagined meeting were it not for my choice of Masters program. As sources teach me every day, Canada is replete with fascinating, enlightening, and endearing people.
Sometimes, though, journalism students hit a wall. By conducting interviews, we interfere in people's daily lives. Our interruptions are sometimes welcome, but many potential sources are dismayed that we are mere students: they would prefer to give their messages to journalists who will disseminate them in "a real publication."
Enter The Graph News Magazine. Our class of 19 students has decided to put some coursework online.
Oct, 2009 back to Jun, 2009: (nothing)
Late last year, I was meandering around the Upper West Side of Manhattan, absorbing my new neighbourhood. As on most beautiful weekends, a street was closed and festivities were afoot. Gravitating towards the action, I was pleased to witness elated racers conquering the New York City Marathon.
I had to smile and cheer at every runner trickling in. The finishing times were likely quite bad by the time I started watching, but these heroes had nonetheless managed to slay Goliath.
And I thought to myself, “that must feel amazing.”