What have you been up to since graduating from j-school?
I took a year to just travel. I went to England, but then I came back to Toronto and I worked as an editorial assistant at Global in Toronto for a year and 10 months. So that meant that I filled whatever job needed to be done.
Sometimes I’d be working on the assignment desk, so that was all right. I would listen to the police scanners, and send out cameras and reporters. Sometimes I would work as a writer for shows; I would be writing the scripts for the anchors of the shows. For like a month and a half I was on the overnight shift doing the writing for The Morning Show, so that was like 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., writing up all the scripts for the news portion of The Morning Show.
And then I got this job [in May 2014]. June 2 was my first day out here in New Brunswick, and here I do everything. I file a story every day, but I have to pick the story and then do all the interviews, shoot it, write it, edit it.
How has your Ryerson Journalism degree helped you?
It’s helped me a lot; it taught me everything I know about journalism. I think the fact that I could say, you know, I graduated from journalism, meant that people were willing to take me on. Like when I got my job at Global, I had done an internship with them just on my own, between the summer of third and fourth year and they remembered me, even though it was like three years later. I didn’t even apply for a job. I messaged the reporter that I’d been interning for, saying, “Hey, I’m back in Canada and I’m looking to maybe come in again and work or something,” and they gave me [the editorial assistant] job.
What advice would you give current journalism students?
Good advice that I wish people had told me more would be that it really is a lot about who you know. It’s really more important in this industry than actually how good you are, because obviously you’re good, but getting a job is not just about being good, because there are lots of people who are good. So you do have to spend time networking; it’s really important. If there’s any journalism events that you see, whether it’s like J-Source running it, or CAJ [Canadian Association of Journalists] or Canadian Journalism Foundation or something like those [journalism] talks that happen every couple months in Toronto — go out to them and actually get to know journalists that are above you. And in fourth year, when you have the opportunity to do the internship, go at it 100 per cent because a lot of people get jobs from the internship.
Can you share a fun J-School memory?
I always tell people how the profs would take us to the bar at the end of the year and we’d do classes in the pub. People from other schools always think that that’s really funny.
Interview with Kalia Garcia-Rojas.