Thank you, your Honour, for an interesting day in court

Many people cringe at the thought of having to go to court. It is particularly unsavory for anyone who must face the court to answer charges.

That was not the case for my journalism class today. We went to court to cover a case for an assignment. It was a pretty heavy case – or would have been – dealing with sexual assault on a child which is a pretty difficult thing to have to cover and write about. But this was not to be. The Crown decided to not present evidence. This is not quite the same thing as withdrawing charges but it is a way to tell the judge that the Crown has decided not to pursue the case. So the judge acquitted the accused and he was free to go in a matter of minutes. A publication ban prohibits disclosure of the name of the accused to protect the identity of the child.

But that is not the story. Continue reading

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A small part in a pretty big production

This past weekend my Community TV class and the film and video production students at the College of the North Atlantic, shot a pretty significant series of shows for Eastlink Cable. Eastlink serves a number of smaller towns and rural areas in Newfoundland, including Stephenville, where our programs are based.

Produced in conjunction with the Bay St. George Folk Arts Council, each show features one of six musical groups performing various folk and traditional styles of music.

Each student had different duties for each show they were involved with. My first position was on the jib camera. A jib is a long arm mounted on a heavy tripod with dolly wheels on a track. The arm has the camera mounted on the front and counter-weights on the other end. It’s very much like a teeter-totter and the camera can be raised and lowered, swung around from left to right and the whole thing moved back and forth along the track. It can actually work in three dimensions. The jib produces some very dramatic shots and I really enjoyed working with this piece of equipment.

My second role was that of director, which is a very nerve-racking job. I was coached by Brian Dawe, who is in charge of community programming for Eastlink in Newfoundland, and he was a very helpful instructor. I couldn’t help but feel jittery with him standing over me, but his coaching was a valuable part of my education. Did I make mistakes? Oh, yeah! You bet I did. But the nice thing about pre-recorded television is that you can do it again.

When I finished directing on Saturday, I was feeling a little critical and somewhat down about my performance. I may have been a little too hard on myself, but I think that’s a good way to be sometimes. Setting the bar for yourself a little higher than others might set it is good for the student soul as well as a check for the ego.

Tonight, I reviewed the material I directed to choose the takes that will be used and which will now go to the Recording Arts students for a remix of the audio. Watching each take of the show with a critical eye tonight surprised me. It wasn’t as bad as I felt it was when I left the set on the weekend. It’s not without flaws and it’s not quite as snappy as an old CBC SuperSpecial, but the best material is pretty good. It may not have the polish and pizzaz of a network show, but I wouldn’t hesitate to include it in my portfolio.

All in all, a weekend well spent making a small contribution to what will be a pretty big production for Eastlink’s community programming in this small part of the world.

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Filed under Community, Journalism, Student Life

GLBTQT group is being founded in the Stephenville/Bay St. George area

Gay/Lesbian organizations are commonplace these days. In most areas. Especially large urban areas. In Newfoundland, St. John’s and even Corner Brook have various organizations serving the GLBTQT community; they even have pride celebrations. Now, smaller and more rural areas in the Bay St. George/Stephenville region are to have an organization to serve their gay/lesbian communities.

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Teen Suicide: Rick Mercer calls it as he sees it…and he’s right!

Rick Mercer’s rant on October 25, 2011 demands that we take the issue of teen suicide much more seriously.

Let’s be honest—he’s absolutely right. Way to go Rick: shake us and wake us all up.

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Democracy for the Middle East will take more than the overthrow of tyrants

In February, Egyptians were successful in their protests and force their leader, Hosni Mubarak, to resign. This week, rebel forces in Libya cornered Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte, and killed the military dictator that has ruled them for some forty years. Similar uprisings have run through the Middle East for a while now. Syria is one of the latest hot-seats of protest.

But amidst the victories that promise to bring democracy to these regions, there looms an ever-present sense of something being missing. In Egypt, this week, we have discovered what it is. Tolerance. A basic tenet of democracy is tolerance, particularly religious tolerance. Without it, there can be no democracy, since a dominant religion will likely try to quash all others. Continue reading

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Filed under International, Politics

Journalists are also teachers of language; we must use it correctly

Alright! I’m not an English major. But I was a good English student through school and during my current college career as well.

I’m not perfect, I’ll admit it; I do make my share of mistakes, particularly during casual conversation. In that environment we can all be forgiven for our misspeaks.

In our professional work, however, I feel it’s important to ensure that we do our best to ensure we are using language correctly. At least most of the time, allowing for the occasional error, which is only human.

Lately, I’m quite concerned that I’m hearing/seeing more and more improper uses of language in the media. Even the CBC, the country’s last bastion of precise language, is beginning to succumb to misplaced modifiers, subject-verb disagreements and the use of words that don’t really mean what the writer is actually talking about. Continue reading

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If we don’t vote do we have the right to complain about the government?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I seem to remember a conversation someone had with me as I approached voting age. They said that if I didn’t vote, I’d have no right to complain when the government did something I disapproved of. Their point was, we have the chance to ‘voice’ our say in the formation of the government at the polls. But if we don’t use that chance, we haven’t said anything about our leadership, so why should we complain about it later? Continue reading

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Filed under Journalism, Politics

Whew! What a week at CSLC

Students surround cameras as flash mob leads pump up session. (Photo by Don Kettle)

A week ago, I wrote about my journalism class taking to the road to cover the Canadian Student Leadership Conference in Corner Brook, NL.

And what a week it has been! Continue reading

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Filed under CSLC, Journalism, Student Life

A taste of real-world journalism

Today, Sunday, our journalism class and the film and video production students, head to Corner Brook for a week. Our purpose is to cover the Canadian Student Leadership Conference, hosted by Corner Brook Regional High School.

The event runs from Tuesday through next Saturday; it features workshops and speakers to help develop leadership skills. Hundreds of student leaders from across Canada will be participating.

It`s not all work for the kids though. Various recreational events are available for them as well and they`ll be able to take in a lot of what Corner Brook and area have to offer. There will also be some concerts and dances.

I don`t envy my two classmates who had to develop our assignment schedule. There`s so much going on they had to spend several days working it out. Well, at least two days. We will be blogging, webcasting, taping, and recording as much of the conference as we possibly can.

Follow us at the College of the North Atlantic Blog.

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Filed under CSLC, Journalism, Student Life

Directions

I have given some thought to what I want to do with this blog. One option is to choose one journalistic topic and follow it. But I feel that is a little tunnel-visioned. After all, I live in a big world and the big world is very interesting. I have only to tap a few buttons to get in touch with friends and acquaintances from all over the big world.

Since I don’t have to be trapped, I’d rather be free. I opt to discover much more of the world.

And since I am publishing this blog to hone my journalism and writing skills, I think diversity is appropriate for the work I do here. After all, I am in the process of learning and I have to have a fundamental understanding of all aspects of journalism.

Hence, as the site tagline implies, if a thought occurs to me on anything that I feel readers might be interested in, I’ll blog about it.

The purpose is to get readers thinking about things going on around them, near and far. While you might choose to once in a while, it’s not fun to stay at home on Friday night while your friends are out having a blast. And would you always do the same thing every weekend or would you mix it up a bit?

Therefore, this blog will not focus on anything in particular but, rather, the world in general, with the goal of stimulating discussions about the many things that make life in this world interesting.

Please join me often and join in with your comments and observations.

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