Thursday, March 8, 2007

Interning at CJAD

I have been interning at CJAD for the week, and let me tell you, today is the craziest day I've had in a while... And it's not even over!

I got in at 8:30, the morning news meeting was delayed til about 9. I wasn't sure what I would be doing for the day, but I had done my research and I knew there was a LOT of stuff happening... especially since two party leaders are in town, and schedules overlapped.

I followed Tim Parent to the Actualite press conference on the overview on the accessibility of Quebec hospitals. They actually INTERRUPTED the anglophone reporters, who had lined up behind the mic, after the francophone reporters, mid-question (After 3 other English questions had already been answered), to ask if there were any more French questions. Two reporters stood up and got their questions answered. And then they never went back to English. At least Tim was able to get stuff in the English scrum.

Then we went upstairs in the same hotel to hear what the Liberals had to say about it. Couillard looks larger than life, trust me. Soooo much like Grissom from CSI. Freakishly so.

We got back to the station, and I filed a voicer on the event, for practice. I had already written it at the event, so I was done that by 12:45 ish.

Then, I had to be trained on fielding the phones because I will be the call screener for the Habs post-game show on CJAD tonight, and hopefully all other weeknights when the team is out of town.

So that took from 1 ish until 1:20 ish. I had eaten a pastry at the Actualite press conference so I wasn't too hungry...

I immediately took a taxi (paid by CJAD of course) to Espace Go to get clips on Andre Boisclair's announcement to spend about $210 million on various women's programs, like sexual assault programs. The French media mostly - no, almost exclusively - asked questions on the earlier controversy about one of his party members denying the Rwanda genocide. Boisclair kept repeating that the headline in La Presse was false, and misleading, and that the candidate wrote a whole book on the genocide and never denied it.

An anglophone reporter (from Global, I think) went up to ask a question... about the genocide. He got one follow up, and then a francophone reporter asked a question from the other side of the room, and the press people called it quits. As in, press conference over.

Now let me note that Boisclair only spoke in English when he answered the Global question. He never spoke of the women's funding program in English. There was no scrum, but I went up to him anyway, in the lobby (they kinda rushed him out), and he said, "I already gave my press conference. I'm not answering any questions." So I said, but you didn't even speak English. And so one of the female party members who was around said, (as Boisclair walked away), that he HAD indeed spoken in English. I retaliated, but not about the funding, just about the Rwanda question. She was like, oh, right... and mentioned it to another female party member, but nothing came of it. The Global cameraman said he would be complaining... but I highly doubt it.

So Boisclair answered 1 question in English, then left. And didn't even talk about what he was supposed to be there for. How lame is that? How are anglophone voters supposed to get all the information they need to make an informed decision? How can the party leaders not care? In a similar case, reporter Shuyee Lee was covering a Jean Charest press conference. The anglophone reporters got 3 questions, again, nothing on the actual reason for the press conference.

It is really frustrating that these people think they can get away with this. It is even more frustrating that they will. The anglophone media should - but won't and can't - make the story that these party leaders are refusing to speak English, that they are not giving equal weight to both languages, and that this is a disrespect to anglophone voters. Do they value their votes any less come election day? No. But any media that would put out this story would pretty much never get access to anything again. Except if there was public support, an inquiry, or anything of that sort.

Anyway, I came back to the studio (thanks taxi!) and put together some clips. I sent them to Kristy Rich in Quebec City for her election round up. Now, I am about to leave to go to the Dorval Hilton for Jean Charest' West Island rally... No clue what it's about, but it better be good! It's pretty much the only time West Island voters will see any of the party leaders. That starts at 6:45. Then I get to taxi back to the studio, upload clips, and wait until the hockey game ends to start fielding calls at around 9:30. That will last until either 10 pm, 10:30 or 11 pm, depending on when the game ends.

It's a long day, but a fun day. I was also lucky enough to get an answer from the CRTC about my TV story, and while they couldn't comment on the issue (more on that later), the press representative pointed me towards a bunch of documents that are a goldmine of information.

And now, before I leave, I will have a Thai Kitchen soup, run across the street to get chocolate from Provigo, get to a bank or ATM machine (or get money back at Provigo) to get cash for the cabs... and then head out.

But first, I desperately need to pee.

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