Archive for April, 2012

One Year Later…

It was a year ago this month that I completed my studies in Journalism – New Media at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. It is a very demanding program (deservedly so) that is taught by industry professionals. While there I got to work with Sony XD cameras just like at the CBC, I edited my footage with Final Cut Pro, I built my own website, I  performed interviews, I got to work on a 15-minute news show as both an assistant director and a web editor, and I got to hang out with some very cool fellow students, one of whom can make a very good imitation of Chewbacca. Come, on that has to count as a special skill.

It was a very exciting eight months that allowed me to cover in person events such the Toronto Slut Walk and  the Toronto Comic Con. In the newsroom we sifted through major news events such as the tsunami in Japan, the Arab Spring, and the federal election. Michael Ignatieff even visited our campus during the campaign and I got to shake his hand.

A requirement for completing the course was for each us to do an internship. I joined the ieiMedia program, which allows students from journalism schools across North America to practice their skills in a foreign setting. Along with 14 other students I got to perform interviews, write a feature story, and shoot and edit a video story in the town of Perpignan, France. Overall, a memorable experience and a heck of a way to gain work experience.

Unfortunately it did not have the immediate desired results. When I returned to my hometown of Quebec City I had a very hard time finding a job. I did obtain various interviews in Quebec City, Montreal, and even Toronto, but I was never hired. I won’t blame ieiMedia or Sheridan College for this, they provided me with all of the tools and knowledge I could possibly need.

I think when it all comes down to it I simply should have tried harder during my first search for an internship in early 2011. My plan was to obtain an internship at CBC in Toronto, go to France, and then come back to work in Toronto. Maybe because I didn’t work hard enough on my schoolwork or because I had made a mistake in my resume, the Toronto internship never happened. After France I had no other choice but to return to Quebec City.

I have spent the last nine months searching for a job in a mostly Francophone market, with a mostly Anglophone education, with  only one month of experience. Trust me, it’s not easy.

Now, a year later I am about to fix what is wrong with my resume: lack of experience. From early May to late July I will intern at a campus radio station in the city of Rouen in Northern France. My tasks will include producing news reports, working on the daily show with fellow journalists, and performing interviews. Additionally, the career website TalentEgg has agreed to publish articles I will publish about my work experience overseas.

Hopefully, the experience at the radio station, and the articles, will help me break out of the vicious circle in which I seem to be stuck. No experience = no job. No job = no experience. If anything it will justify my writing “Multimedia Journalist” on my  website. After this I will have worked online, in a television studio, I will have recorded and edited news pieces, I will have taken digital photographs, and I will have worked in radio.

I also hope that one year from now I will be doing work I love with people I like. Which makes me wonder if everyone from my program is happy with what they’re doing. I wonder if one day some of us will end up working in the same newsroom together once again. You never know, it’s a small world after all and I have a valid passport.



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In which Language should I be Thinking?

Lately I’ve been wondering about my identity, specifically my linguistic identity. See once upon a time French was my only language. Then when I was 4 years old I moved to Newfoundland, where I learned to speak English, or whatever passes as English over there. Either way, when I moved to an international school in Santiago, Chile, three years later people couldn’t understand a word of what I was saying so I had to learn English again.

I studied in English between grades 2 and 10 while living in both Chile and Peru until 2003 when I moved back to Quebec. Being the only fully bilingual person in a Quebec City high school kind of makes you stand out. When the time came to move to the University of Sherbrooke, I spent the first semester in Etudes Literaires (French Literary Studies) but quickly got bored. The next semester I switched to English and Intercultural Studies, which was a vast improvement. I hung out with a group of students who preferred their movies, books, and video games in English, despite all being born in Quebec.

Then between 2010 and 2011 I studied Journalism in Ontario, where it was English 24/7. Since 2011 I have been back in Quebec City where it is of course French full time. Originally,  my plan was to stay in the Toronto area, do an internship at CBC, go to France for a one-month study program with American and Canadian students, and then come back to Toronto for a full-time job. The Toronto internship never happened, so I moved back to Quebec, went to France, back to Quebec again, and have been applying to jobs in both English and French ever since.

Now this summer I have been accepted for an internship…in Northern France, where of course they will speak French. Meanwhile, I watch American and Canadian TV shows in English, I watch every big Hollywood blockbuster that is shown in English, and I read books in English and French. I also write movie reviews of movies made in Quebec and of foreign movies…in English. agreed to hire me to write those reviews, but the more I think about it, who is going to read English reviews of French and foreign movies?

My mom even recently asked me why I never watch the news in French. I just prefer watching Global National at 6:30 with Dawna Friesen. The half-hour format reminds me of the news show I used to work on at Sheridan. I sometimes tell myself the technical terms while it’s playing: take SOT (Sound on Tape). But I suppose I could probably find the French equivalent.

So after all these linguistic changes, what am I really? French or English? I’ve lived the most in Quebec, but I wasn’t even born here, I was born in New-Brunswick. If I am Canadian, maybe I should lay off the American TV shows, although I am probably not the only one with that problem. Back in Sherbrooke, my friends and I always watched Castle and House.

Sometimes I feel like the villain in Bon Cop/Bad Cop: fully bilingual, yet I believe I have an accent in both languages. Don’t worry, Jean Chretien wasn’t my language teacher.

My first job should either bring some conclusions or more confusion. If I get a job in Ontario in English, that will settle it. I will work and communicate in English, and speak to my family in French. But then again, a few weeks ago I applied for a job in French in Windsor, Ontario. So, I would have been working in French, in a mostly English province, and most likely still blogging in English. At least I had the good sense to make my website bilingual.

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