Opting Remembrance: why we pander to the indifferent

Ask me to recount the poem In Flanders Fields, and I will most likely end up singing it. It was the first song I learned in Canada with my grade five choir, and the first time I  heard the words of John McCrae.

MY REMEMBRANCE EDUCATION

Since my arrival in 2000, every November 11th has been marked with a Remembrance Day ceremony. I have to thank Bonnycastle Elementary School for putting on a large-scale tribute each year, and teaching a young immigrant about what this day is all about. Fast forward to my years in high school, when a passionate teacher tells the class “…and Friday, we are going to be talking about Vimy Ridge.”

She teased this class like any broadcaster does a major event – a countdown to the epic, momentous telling of the battle for Vimy Ridge. The day it happened, she displayed proudly a picture that had been stored the whole semester in the corner of the room – the one that gave me chills to look at everyday before knowing, and still brings uneasy feelings after finding out: those ghosts are our boys.

“Ghosts of Vimy Ridge” William Longstaff, 1931

This same teacher took a class of 40 students across the ocean for a tour of WWI and WWII battlegrounds. These trips aren’t uncommon nowadays and for good reason. Fast forward to 2012: I interview a Saskatoon high school teacher about why it’s important for him to do this same trip for his students.

“…because until you stand in Flanders Fields, smell and see these places you just… it’s just – its life changing.”

 I understand how hard it is to recount the exact emotion. The day I took in the memorial at Vimy Ridge, it was raining the worst it had during our spring time visit in Europe. In the pelting rain, that same passionate teacher stood at the foot of the memorial and recounted her lecture. I never thought I would cry as much as I did that day – I actually ached for these people, and most of all for our young country.

Do I feel this intensity every time I pin on my poppy? No. But I do think “I am wearing this to show I remember. To show I am undertaking the act of remembrance.”

I know there are some who share these sentiments, and others who don’t. For some, the poppy holds as much weight as the great feeling of  having the day off. So I’m here to get back to the basics, back to what I learned at my first school ceremony: the best – and least – we can do today is remember.

Simply cut out all other noise, and think of all those we lost, those who sacrificed and gave themselves for our moment today.

BUT IT CAN’T BE THAT SIMPLE

Apparently times are a’changing and we just can’t let Remembrance Day go unscathed: we have to make it political. In Edmonton, some schools are allowing students to “opt out” of the ceremony. In a CTV Edmonton report, Jane Sterling with Edmonton Public Schools said:

“It’s always an option for parents…Typically it’s a really rare request, but in certain situations there are parents that would prefer their children not to be part of the Remembrance Day ceremony.

Sterling said students usually don’t take part in the ceremonies for religious reasons, and only applied in what she called ‘demographic areas’.”

I am going to parrot the view of another mentioned in the story, and many others in arms about this issue: Remembrance Day is not about religion. It’s not about whether it is right or wrong to fight. It is not about anything other than honouring our fallen, and those still alive today, for their service.

Why is that so hard to do?

The amazing thing about this day is it can be presented in so many ways – and is decided by each person in how they remember. So many of my school ceremonies stuck to the basics and encouraged us to think of our own ways to remember:

“We remember because we want to live in a world of peace… We remember because grandpa came back while his best friends didn’t… We remember because these men and women fought for a country where all creeds and races can live together and learn to accept each other.”

And yet some of these people, who would otherwise not be able to live freely with their beliefs, suddenly don’t want in on thanking those who shaped this very country. Therein lies the muddied water of this debate:

Our brave men and women also fought for the freedom of religion and freedom to express beliefs.

Okay, so let’s move on if you are adamant to make it political and religious and you don’t want to bend. Because it’s so far to stoop to offer some gratitude.

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE INDIFFERENT?

Yes, let’s hear from this motley crew. These people who just want to “opt out” without the guilt of being called out as ungrateful and perhaps just a little – spoiled.

“I think it should be a choice with the parents, whether they should celebrate Remembrance Day or just do other activities,” Parent Pam Fillion said.”

Just let that disregard for fellow-man and country dance around in your head for a second. Yeah, it still doesn’t quite keep up with the counts.

I think back now to that first ceremony and wonder what it would have been like to be excused from it all. Every moment thereafter would have been for naught: the Vimy Ridge talk, the trip. I wouldn’t feel the same love for my country; I wouldn’t be able to connect with my surroundings in the same way, with the same respect and regard for all I have; because so many of our interactions are based on the freedoms for which these men and women fought.

I wouldn’t have an ounce of the understanding of just how fortunate we all are to live in Canada. To have the freedom to remember publicly, and peacefully.

LEST WE FORGET – NOT ALL IS LOST

The silver lining? Apparently the “importance of Remembrance Day” is still being taught.

Well then consider it an already failed lesson, as these parents and now their children make it clear Remembrance Day isn’t nearly as important as “other activities.”

So this Remembrance Day I will stand even straighter, with even more pride along with my fellow Canadians:

At the going down of the sun
and in the morning
We will remember them

We will remember them.

**

For those who don’t know where the last passage is from, ask your teacher.

Green pastures: my take on the journey to an elusive J job.

On Thursday, I had the honour of speaking to this year’s fresh intake of Creative Communications students at Red River College. Not only was it a pleasure to be back in Winnipeg and back at the campus where my career first developed, it was also great to be in the company of other esteemed CreComm grads from 2012: Albertine Watson, Hayley Brigg and Sean Campbell.

While we all found jobs that were a) in our professional field and 2) fulfilling and terrific, I was the only representative who left the Winnipeg nest.  I am not, however, the only journalism major from the 2012 class to pack up and head to greener (pun intended) pastures. We saw classmates off to Fort McMurry, AB; Brandon, MB; Thompson, MB; Swan River, MB; Dryden, ONT; and of course – Saskatoon, SK.

I wasn’t surprised many of us headed off, since I remember quite vividly hearing this sentiment throughout first year: Journalism is dying. There are no J jobs. But there are, and in the ways I will soon discuss – there will also be some for next year’s grads too.

There were many factors leading me to my new home in Saskatoon – the perfect job, great timing, and my ability to do so without breaking the bank.  I had never been to Saskatoon before, but I remembered a former grad talking about her experience working there, and  then this tweet popped up a few weeks later:

The article, published by J Source, is titled “Why Saskatchewan is a good place to be a journalist” and all bolded quotes are taken from there. The first half epitomizes all that J students know and love about “smaller markets”: you get well-rounded professional experience quickly…

“I think it’s a great place for new grads looking to get started,” says To. “You can become a reporter here quicker simply because it’s a smaller centre and you can get valuable experience.” 

And, as in my own case, a lot of responsibility to tackle many jobs; you’re no longer the one-trick pony. You’re the pony who can gallop, trot, shoot stories, switch, create graphics, and work the magic on-air. While the obvious benefit to working in a smaller market is a gold mine for giddy J grads, Saskatchewan has become a perfect storm for those pursuing a career in an industry some think is dying…

 “The job possibilities for journalists aren’t as bad as they have been made out to be —  at least not in Saskatchewan. The economy is booming, advertising dollars are flowing and new outlets are popping up like spring flowers.” 

This is really why Saskatchewan is the place to be, journalist or not. The boom directly contributes to overall growth and betterment of the province. Not to mention the creation of new journalism jobs, so one doesn’t have to wait for other employees to retire or depart…

“There are a number of reasons why journalism jobs are more abundant in Saskatchewan, one being that half of Saskatchewan’s population lives in small communities, many with local newspapers that need journalists.” 

“The resource boom is another reason, and as Eric Howe, an economics professor at the University of Saskatchewan explains, the province has a resource boom about every 25 years.”

This resource boom is a huge part of why I love Saskatoon – there are young people, new infrastructure projects and an excitement about what’s next. Of course with all that, comes a scrambling for housing. I shopped on Kijiji for roommates and places to live, lucking out with a brand new home shared among four people. Rent is affordable for the most part, and so is gas – since a ride on Circle Drive (which requires almost no stopping) gets you to work quickly and efficiently.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed: Saskatoon has its act together because it accepts that while it’s not the biggest market – it’s also not the smallest. Coming from Brandon, this place is the perfect size and temperament for a budding (or even fully blossomed) journalist. All the media folk are friendly, with a healthy dose of competitive bite, and compelling stories.

Oh and did I mention there’s some damn good journalism happening here?

“There’s more competition in the media right now than I’ve seen in quite a while and hopefully that’s going to be generating more jobs,” says Elliot. “So, I think Saskatchewan is a great place for any young journalist to start their career.”

The article then moves on to explore the University of Regina journalism program, in particular how grads are getting jobs. The metaphorical hairs on my back usually stand up when J schools are mentioned, because I’m a Creative Communications grad – a J grad – even though it’s not solely a  J program. Call me a dreamer, but I like rooting for the underdog, and it’s so rewarding to see my classmates grabbing up industry jobs (our stats on grad hire rates are higher than those in the article, but I digress).

One thing that helps our program – and all J programs for that matter – are work placements or internships. Ours are quite different, however, from the U of R. Where we are guaranteed 3 weeks, unpaid (unless otherwise negotiated) – theirs are 13 weeks, paid…

“It is a 100 per cent requirement of the employer that we get paid because you get what you pay for,” says Heroux [ U of R student]. “To be frank, something like six weeks is not enough to establish yourself and an unpaid internship is not enough to establish yourself.” 

It’s interesting because I both agree and disagree with this U of R student. Firstly, I agree that payment ought to be given for the work, on the argument the student makes in the first half of the quote. It’s the argument you will get from any Regina J student. Also, I’d be damn well pissed if I had to work 13 weeks full-time without making something for it. Or I’d just starve, silently.

Here’s my slight disagreement: both of my two “not enough to establish yourself” internships led to jobs. I interned at the Brandon Sun (of my own accord, not related to school) and the Winnipeg Free Press, which aided me in landing the full-time military beat reporter position at the Sun.

I also spent three weeks at Shaw TV Winnipeg, where I established myself enough to be strongly supported by those working there for the position I currently have at Shaw TV Saskatoon.

And I worked my ass off for it. Those six weeks – which turned into roughly 13 when adding on additional freelance work I did following the placements – were exhausting. But that’s the card we’re dealt in the Creative Communications Program and I wouldn’t change my experience for the world.

Just like any deadline – 13 weeks or three – you get it done, and you get it done well with what you’re given. Arrange meetings with the directors before starting, come prepared with story ideas – ones that will actually make it to air or print – and better yet, be a decent individual.

That’s a damn good way to establish yourself.

So why did I leave for Saskatchewan? Timing, the company, and most importantly – it’s the job I wanted.  It’s not an easy decision to make, it just worked out that most of my family was no longer in Winnipeg and that the most difficult piece of any puzzle – the heart – was already decided since my boyfriend and I split months before I landed the Saskatoon job.

Having my current experience, and reading the article – there are even more merits to starting a J career in Saskatchewan. If all you take out from it is that small markets are great places to work, you’re ahead; because frankly, if you love what you do, it won’t matter where you do it.

You may even find yourself in very green (…white and black…) pastures.

Back to the beginning

One of truest sentiments regarding blogging was shared in less than 140 characters: “I don’t care why you haven’t blogged, just do it.”

That’s easier said than done, because once you let life take over with its long work days and evenings finally free from homework – blogging becomes a permanent tenant on the to-do list.

Well, no more excuses as I’m curled up on the lazy-boy in the house I share with three boys who I didn`t know a couple of weeks ago. Time to write.

Since my last post about interning at the Winnipeg Free Press – which now feels like an eternity ago – things moved quickly.I freelanced for the Canadian Forces at CFB Shilo for the last time, leaving the contract work behind when I became the full-time military reporter at the Brandon Sun.

It was a phenomenal job – covering all types of news for a daily deadline and even having the opportunity to photograph. My main beat was Shilo, and I’m honoured to say I met some incredible people working in the small community.  That lasted, however, for all of a month and a half and I am now the anchor/producer at Shaw TV Saskatoon. (That’s where the picture below is from!)

All in the span of less than a regular semester at university.

It’s not so much the lightning fast speed at which my burgeoning career has taken off, it’s more the startling reality that in a short period of time I went from worrying about work to finding myself in a very stimulating and fulfilling job. More than that, I straight up packed up my car (yes, I bought one of those) and drove to a city I have never visited before – to live with people who I met online.

And I wouldn’t change it for the world.

The people I live with are fantastic, honestly. They had waited to find a roommate for months, and they said I sounded like a good fit. So far things are great as we’re all so busy leading our lives, yet we can gather for some Breaking Bad time when we have the chance.

If there’s one thing I can say about the experience so far, maintaining a positive attitude has helped – and continues to help – navigate the waters of a new career. Each day is brand new, and I learn about 20,000 things about myself, others, this industry, how we use writing/sound/visuals to create a feeling.

It’s pretty surreal. The feeling is similar to what I felt when I first started CreComm – except back then I was riddled with self-doubt. The idea of getting my dream job was, well two years away. Now that it’s here, and I’m completely at peace with it; and that’s awesome.

Taking it one day at a time has helped tremendously, along with hearing Joanne’s voice in my head saying “sound-ups, write to your visuals!”

So now I’m going to close this post, and feel good that despite the schedule, and the Breaking Bad episode on pause in front of me – I did it. I wrote for the hell of it.

*

 

Welcome Back

Hello fellow writers, readers (and specialty beer drinkers),

I have been, ahem, on a hiatus for a while – after the first year of CreComm ended with a bang I went away to embark on a journalism stint with the military in Shilo, Manitoba.

And then I decided to finish my degree. The program I am currently in is a joint degree and diploma with The University of Winnipeg and Red River College – so I hit the books for two months and accumulated a total of 35 hours of sleep in the span of that whirlwind. I remember one evening in June deciding that I needed to blog… and falling asleep on my laptop.

In July, I went on the trip of my year – to Lausanne, Switzerland for the 14th World Gymnaestrada. It was 13 intense days of steep hills, hot weather, 5 am training calls and four sold out shows. It was an exhibition of dance from all over the world; our team being the representative for Canada, and showcasing an array of aerial dance as different animals. Yes I was a monkey! I blogged about my experience on the dance team website:

“On Wednesday July 6, the ladies and gentleman of Winnipeg’s Momentum Aerial and Acrobatic Troupe headed off for Lausanne Switzerland (via Toronto, Frankfurt and Geneva of course).  For some, it had been a two-year project, beginning with the road to the Canadian Gymnaestrada in Winnipeg on July long 2010. Others, like myself, began our trip six years ago before the WG in Austria – others still, before Portugal, some as far back as Sweden. Our performance in the FIG Gala has been in the making for over twelve years…”

Read the full story here.

But I made sure to get me some home-town lovin. My next trip away from home took me to rural Manitoba. I finally spent time with family in Brandon; stopped for the best deep-fried pickles in Erikson; shivered on the beach at Clear Lake; and finally went to Gimli. Yes, I have lived in Manitoba for ten years and have yet to visit the Viking. Spent one of my favourite days of this summer there.

I topped off my summer tour in the Okanagan Valley. Staying in Penticton, B.C. with friends, I went on wine tours, kayak jaunts, channel chill-outs (that is, relaxing on a floaty for three hours in the hot sun) and plenty of beach days. I wish I could write something that doesn’t sound trite, and right out of a summer tour guide, but it can’t be avoided. “The funnest place on earth!”

And to cap it all, I met a wonderful group of people – in interesting ways. Some great witty writers, drinkers, and friends through Twitter. Most notably, the ever charming @cenquist, whose blog is undergoing a wicked redesign that shall be linked at a later date.  Then the son of a Maclean’s editor and travel writer who told me all the great places his dad has been too (on the plane seat beside me). For those of you who don’t know – being a travel writer is my dream. And last – but not least – I met an ambitious and quirky journalist intern (in B.C.) who reminded me just how excited I am to be in my final year of CreComm.

I am officially a journalism major now, and I can’t wait to share the upcoming year with all of you. Of course, I will still post my creative writing pieces – don’t think I wasn’t writing poems on these trips! – And filling you in on my thoughts (for fear of academic penalty, ha!).

So here’s a toast to the new school year – oh, and Happy Birthday Cre.ature Feed!

Bon Appetit!

Flying High

Brett Enquist Photography

It’s officially one month until I fly off to Switzerland!

To say I’m excited is the understatement of the century, this event has been the culmination of four years of hard work and sacrifice. I haven’t had a long weekend or Saturday to myself – one where I haven’t had some sort of rehearsal. There have been painful days of bruised, ripped and scratched backs (along with the backs of knees) and callouses forming on callouses. But there’s the reward of working with the most fantastic team for so long. We’re a huge family – complete with the siblings that irritate each other. Age doesn’t matter, and sometimes we forget that some of the younger girls we dance with look up to us – “us” being the university and college age girls who seem to have it the best — we get a slightly later curfew in Switzerland.

But when we go over to Europe to represent ourselves, our school and HELLO – Canada! – it’s a full time job. Our clothes have been pre-selected, our make-up practised, our team walk rehearsed (start with right foot). We’ve worked all year on the piece we’re taking there, along with many of the pieces in the recent dance recital. I never understood why I couldn’t have as much patience drafting my written work as I do with my dance. Every nuance has to be there, or else you run it again – and the bruises darken.

But I love this, I’m so truly honored to not only have the ability to dance, but the means. I get to fly for Pete’s sake! (Pete’s rather happy about this). Our theatre teacher made a video about what we feel dance is to us, what we’ve learned. Until he posts the video, all I can remember saying was that dance doesn’t only teach you to deal with your mistakes, it teaches you to accept corrections and try again. And then you yearn for it, and yearn for it elsewhere. We not only have the physical flexibility, but the creative room to miss a double pirouette and still pull off a great performance. There are far too many incidents in life where there is no give.

I can’t believe it was four and a half years ago I said first “I’ll never be able to do that” and after my first class, watching the experienced dancers high above — “I can’t wait to do that.” Now I do it almost everyday. It’s such a big part of who I am creatively – once you play around in vertical space, it’s the biggest “eff you” to boundaries of the horizontal. I could talk about this connection for a long time but I will leave you today, amidst all my excitement, with a poem I found while cleaning out my files. I wrote it awhile back after I first attempted the trapeze bar, how I wanted more but was fearful. Now I play freely.

TrappedEaze 
By Daniella Ponticelli

The bar is cold

Like new day break’s dew

Stewing in the silence

Hanging limp, hanging

Dry.

Brett Enquist Photography

A lone steel bar

Waits for rough edge hands

To grab on lust’s sweet plight; 

Flying high, flying—

Sigh.

A still girl waits

It is I who begs

Taking in the trap’s gaze

Moving slow, moving

Still.

The cloud is high

One beat swing will work

To skim its white belly

Reaching lift, reaching

Breath.

The need to fly

Is rapt in a cage

Leaning on ribs and heart

Beating loud, beating

Wake.

Nod the hero

Get up/un furl claws

Yearning for fledgling awe

Trying pride, trying

Fate.

There is no death

There one ex  hale waits

Swinging for the last time

Trusting limbs, trusting

God

Here I let go

Take me there St. V

Knowing my last love waits

Hinging pain, hinging

Fault.

One big chance now                             

Air kiss’red on neck

Flying high on sweet bliss

Catching bar, catching

Hope.

Return to ground

Heartbeatslow    down      catch

Showing fear in silence

Keeping strength, keeping 

Faith.

Face Self in glass

Marred by a big act

Lying satisfaction

Going strong, going

Free.

Bar is still cold

Like old day end’s death

Faking  joy til ’morrow

Floating high, floating

Trapped.

Give a Shit? VOTE!

Regardless of your political affiliations, or lack there of, this election is bringing out some creative campaigns to motivate voters.

It’s no secret that Canadian youth voting apathy is good news for leaders hoping to ride on the coattails of their older voters. While having lunch at the college recently, we discussed what a great wake up call it would be if every single student went out to vote. You know, instead of demanding attention when tuition issues roll around, start by sending a loud message : WE ARE HERE. And our vote counts, enough of old conservative values determining our future.

The campaign I enjoy the most by far is ShitHarperDid.com. It is minimalistic and perfectly to the point: here’s what Harper has done, do you want more of this [shit]? Each piece of shit is presented with a catchy headline, the fact, and credible links to articles discussing it.

The promotional videos spread their message about needing to improve voter turn out, and as a bonus – are entertaining. They target endorsements in a tongue in cheek manner, saying you shouldn’t rely on a well-known person to determine your vote. Matter of fact, the most important part is that you VOTE. One guy on the ShitHarperdid Facebook page says he’s still going to vote for him. And ultimately, voting is a personal choice and the people need to understand that their little x counts.

Your excuses are running out. 
In the age of Google, yes the link is provided even though you use this everyday for reasearch in university, finding out information on party candidates is simple. There’s no excuse, well except for if you are easily distracted by these YouTube videos.

There are more ShitHarperDid.com videos in the YouTube sidebar.

Another great blog, and yes – it does have to do with Harper, is thingsharperdoestoseemhuman. I thoroughly enjoy the commentary and pictures. I’m interested in seeing some for other party leaders, but my forwarded links always seem to carry our current leader. Please comment with links if you have any!

Finally, I can’t leave out Rick Mercer, who is doing a great job at creatively talking to young voters. His rants are catching a lot of attention, and I like them. We are not targeted, we are not a threat. Let’s change this! (no laugh track)

Day in the life of a Soldier

This past weekend I was given the fabulous opportunity of waking up early and heading out to try being a soldier for the day. The article below was published in the Sunday Free Press and tells the story of big trucks, big guns, and big awesomness.

Day in the life of a soldier.

Aquatic Escape

I realized something absolutely scary. Not only am I a slave to the clock, but also a diagnosed zombie.

I have spent most of the week running around, skipping lunch for mac lab magazine work, driving to and from Brandon Manitoba within less than an evening, and waking up the next day to do it all again. By no means is this complaining, this is merely indicating how little time I have to write creatively. I miss it, the few cereal posts I’ve done are my only escape.

And that’s when opportunity came. My wonderful creative writing instructor Karen Press invited me to do a reading of some of my creative work, most likely a short story, along with poet, memoir writer, and international author Jonathan Garfinkel (I’m really excited to hear him read!).

The reading will be held on
Wednesday, April 6
7 pm
Aqua Books 274 Garry.

If you can’t make it to our duo reading, please consider taking in Garfinkel at noon the following day, April 7, at RRC Roblin Centre at the Exchange District Campus Room A104.

If you are interested in knowing more, and showing your attendance, there is a Facebook event here. I’ll be posting more on my creative project adventures – as soon as I remember what six hours of sleep feels like.

Social ME.dia: Strategic Practises

Part 2: Strategic Use of Social Media

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but not under 140 characters.

The best advice I got for using social media as a business or personality: the 9 to 1 rule. For every 1 piece of self-promotion, post 9 engaging and interactive posts.

Basically, if you use social media, make sure that you are ready to have conversations. So follow people with the same interests. Don’t expect people to follow you if your account is smothered with self-promotion. A great example of interactive and engaging tweeting is Bistro 7 ¼.  Chef Alex tweets as a chef doing his day-to-day shopping and cooking and engages his audience by asking “What do you want for dinner?” while at the market.

And who wouldn’t support a business that is friendly enough to ask and take heart to your suggestions.

A great Facebook page is SANDBOX magazine. They use it actively and as the interactive hub for posting pictures and commenting personally on other’s profiles. The creator of Sandbox did almost all of the social media promotion so now I must ask:

How do you feel about corporate tweeters?
These are people who tweet on behalf of people or organizations. Let’s keep it on a local level as it is obvious why CEO’s of major corporations can’t be tweeting. But what about our mayor? He has a Twitter account but it’s not him tweeting (although this is a flawed example because there are hardly any tweets at all).

While at the Direction’s Business Conference this topic came up and some business owners felt strongly that Twitter doesn’t work if it’s not from the person, if its written by “a bunch of PR people.”

Right now we’re putting together our PR strategy proposals and I’m creating a social media campaign. From what I can suggest (in my novice opinion), is that if you’re using a website/blog, Facebook and Twitter – offer something different for each space. And make sure whoever is spearheading the communication feels positively about the organization enough to write about it as you would.

Example:

Use your blog to expand on thoughts and post

Use your Twitter as a means to interact with people with the same interests, and post short interesting thoughts/ comments/ questions. Remember, you want to keep your sheep – they’re “following” you.

Use Facebook to nurture the relationship between you and your audience. Remember, you’re friends now – they “like” you.

And finally, the most important of all – don’t use social media (or certain mediums) just for the hell of it.
During the civic election, a certain council candidate created a Twitter account, garnered followers and then didn’t send out a tweet. Not one.

So make sure you use it! Remember, you’re accountable for your online content (or lack there of). And make sure that your audience’s use of social media matches up with your objectives. Here’s what some of my friends had to say about their social media activities.

Have any thoughts? Comment here or check out the Cre.ature Feed Facebook page here.

See Part 1 here

Some Mayo’r for that Sandwich?

You look like journalism students.

"I love this City"

That was our quick introduction to Chuck Davidson, the coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce. My colleagues, Jennifer David  and Tristan Field Jones , and I were shown to the media table while speakers did their technical rehearsal.

“Welcome on this, February 4th 2010… I mean, uh, 2011.”

The occasion –  Mayor Sam Katz’ State of the City address. Over 1100 people attended; “a sold out crowd” said the introductory speaker. The cost was $75 as a Chamber member, and $200 non-member, proceeds going to Osborne House and the North End Hockey Program . Before we could settle into our back wall seats, complete with VIP sandwich platters, the CreComm crew took a moment to mingle outside.

I took a picture for a business woman on her BlackBerry, “I just don’t know how to work this camera.” Hmmm, the mobile CreComm is paying off.

TFJ

Tristan decided to unload his high-tech audio equipment, setting up a tripod the size of my hand and grumbled as it didn’t withstand the weight of the microphone.

Men and women formed a growing sea of grey, black and white tones in the lobby. Business suits, trench coats, and high school blazers – over 50 high school students were invited to the event, their plate sponsored by the Convention Centre.

Once inside, there was media from the Uniter, CBC, and CJOB 68, sitting beside us. Mr. Policy Frog was seen walking around the tables. Seated at a table in front of us was Coun. Thomas Steen, proving to be far more talkative than at the previous city council meeting.

 Judy Murphy, the Chamber of Commerce Chair introduced a few guest speakers and a Chamber promotional video was aired, created by Tripwire Media Group. It was a very well-produced video – you know you’re a CreComm nerd when a promo vid increases your heart rate – and all I could think was I can’t wait to start my video IPP…

Interruption while Bartley Kives serves the media table with the aforementioned sandwich platter.

But, let’s get to the State of the City.
We were provided with a news release of the address, written in past tense, and the mayor’s entire speech (also available online at www.winnipeg.ca). The mayor discussed – very optimistically! – his vision for the upcoming year, nay, decade. I will now present you with my

AWESOME top ten highlights

“Mr. Mayor, over here!”

1. The Mayor giving mad props to the city councillors, starting with those new to office.
Why do I enjoy Coun. Steen’s reactions so much?

2.The mayor saying that he believed some Winnipeggers settled into feeling that they live “in a great city, but maybe just not quite as good as others.”
As a student, I can’t even begin to count the number of times I hear others say they are going to leave this city as soon as they’re done school. Whereas I will be lucky to get a journalistic start in rural community – that is my NYC.  I agree, it’s time to give our city some credit (even though my tweets about Transit say otherwise)…

3.“Our downtown population will increase by more than 10%.”
Hope that’s not just parking lot attendants Mr. Katz.

4. A 2014 Grey Cup in the new stadium. Giddy up.

5. OH OH OH – DID YOU HEAR?
WE’RE GETTING A TARGET! (tar-jay) AND AN IKEA! (eye-key-yaaa).
Now we’re finally as hip as Fargo.

6. The first class of police cadets is graduating today. This just makes me happy; they are such a welcomed presence in the downtown area.

7.WHAT IS THAT IN THE SKY?!
“A big, shiny, crime-busting new police helicopter.”  I feel like I’m living in L.A.!
But hey, if you’re worried about gas emissions, the “largest green building ever built in Manitoba” (Canadian Museum for Human Rights) will balance it all out. Right?

8.Oh he mentioned something about a waterpark…  How about dem Jets?

9. The province wants the city to spend $350 million on removing nitrogen in the water. Sam Katz opposes with the magic reason:
BUT WE COULD BUILD A WAVERLEY UNDERPASS!

10. “And we will certainly never get it done if we ever stop believing it can happen.”

Roll it Journey

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