What is it like to be an editor for an online publication?
It’s a non-stop roller coaster ride. There’s so much potential in how I get to cover a story and the different forms (a story, Q&A, feature, photos, video, Facebook post, Instagram shot, Snapchat…) in which I can package it to reach the most people. It’s exciting to be able to merge the foundations of storytelling and journalism with the technological tools we all get to play with. So while I used to be limited to two minutes on a newscast as a TV reporter, I can now take different angles of a story and spread it across different platforms. The feedback is also instantaneous in terms of social engagement and comments so you know right away how you’re connecting with the audience.
How has social media changed the Canadian media landscape?
It’s equalized it in some ways, I think. Bloggers and smaller media outlets can have just as much impact as the large networks or media groups. While having social media expands the pool of story ideas and amazing people to interview, it also means newsrooms are stretched trying to feed it back. But I laugh too because we have interns try to track someone down through Facebook or Twitter, and in the end, I have to show them how to use a phone directory and actually dial a number to speak to someone. Sometimes, old-school works best.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I have a terrible addiction to my iPhone. I wake up and check my email and Slack to catch up with what our news team in Toronto, Montreal, and Alberta are doing. I try to answer emails and check on the day’s news while I’m commuting to work on the SkyTrain so by the time I arrive at the office, I know what our priorities are and what’s trending. Then the day is spent writing, sourcing, creating, checking social media, editing, rinse and repeat. It’s not uncommon for me to log in from home as well to post stories or help edit a late file from a reporter in central Canada.
What’s your number one tip for PR people?
Please know who you’re pitching to. Know what kind of stories we tend to cover. I have all the time in the world for PR people who tailor their ideas to our audience and our style, but I filter out PR folks who regularly send me irrelevant pitches.
Favourite story you’ve ever worked on?
Tough question! Probably this documentary on one of the first Canadian soldiers to be severely injured in the Afghanistan mission, and his recovery with his family.
Dream story that you’d love to work on?
A documentary/web feature on Chinese-Canadian restaurants—the ones that serve sweet and sour pork, along with hot turkey sandwiches—across the country. My grandparents used to run one in Mission, B.C.
Coffee or beer?
All of it.