When I began my degree at McGill, journalism was not something that was ever in my horizon. Despite thinking journalism was an exciting career path, it seemed like a field with little to no openings where you had to go to journalism school to even be considered for a position. Even throughout my time at McGill, I had my sights set on working for non profits or research. My extracurricular experienced ranged from Model United Nations to theatre with writing for online journal that focused on covering world affairs thrown in the mix, the McGill International Review (MIR). My time with MIR hooked me into writing, doing research and answering complex questions in a way that was understandable for an audience. Despite my interest, I never thought of actually going into a field like this until I found about the CBC Radio Peter Gzowski internship.
I discovered the CBC Radio Peter Gzowski internship after a visit to the ION office. I had no idea what I wanted to do after graduation so I was fishing around for opportunities. “It is a great opportunity,” said Antoine, who works at the ION, “you should give it a shot.” Having zero experience in radio and limited journalism experience, I was weary of my chances of actually getting the internship but decided to apply anyway. I suppose I made up for my limited experience in enthusiasm because, as it is evident, I got the internship.
Working for the CBC this past summer was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life. After a week of rigorous radio journalism training, I started working in the Montreal office where I gained first hand experience not only in radio journalism working with the local programs, but also writing articles for the web. This involved learning how to do thorough research in a limited amount of time, how to pitch a compelling news story, how to write for radio and how to tell a story effectively. The internship even pushed me to get over my paralyzing fear of cold-calling people on the phone. Fair warning, a great part of the gig involves talking to people on the phone. Perhaps my most rewarding experience was able to work on my own radio pak about women in jazz and the struggles they face in the industry. I pitched to one of my producers and I was very happy that he trusted me to do it. If I am allowed to toot my own horn, I’d say it turned out pretty great: it had compelling interviews, vivid anecdotes and great music.
The CBC Radio Peter Gzowski internship was a fantastic experience to be able to learn on the job and I gained a lot of practical skills that could be applied anywhere. I would encourage anyone with an eagerness to learn and work hard to apply, despite their amount of experience. It is an invaluable opportunity to anyone that wants to gain first hand experience in journalism.