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JWF Fellowships

Poynter Institute Experience

Reports from:Gloria Chang | Melanie de Klerk | Denise Helm | Hazel MacClement | Catherine Pope | Janis Warren


Gloria ChangGloria Chang
freelance broadcaster

I was honoured with a Jack Webster Foundation Research Fellowship in 2008. It allowed me to take an interview and research gathering trip to Seoul, Korea to explore Confucianism, Shamanism and Buddhism - three philosophical and belief systems that underlie all East Asian cultures. These cultures also represent a significant presence in both population and culture here in British Columbia. Several stories were commissioned as a result of the fellowship.

Ten Thousand Spirits, a one-hour radio documentary, is a fascinating journey into the ancient and indigenous belief that spirits and dead ancestors affect the fortunes of the living. Why is the number of spiritual guides or shamans increasing in one of the world's most technologically advanced countries? How does the ancient belief have such staying power? How does it contribute to religious plurality?

Broadcast Date: Spring 2009 on CBC Radio One's IDEAS. Schedule to be confirmed in April. http://www.cbc.ca/ideas

From yoga to meditation retreats, the increasing popularity and practice of Buddhism will be explored through the experience of a Buddhist Temple Stay program in a feature story for BC's online newspaper www.thetyee.ca
Publish Date: Spring 2009.

As a freelance journalist, the experience and production of these stories have allowed me to continue to build relationships with editors and producers. It has also further enhanced my storytelling skills in both broadcast and print.

I would highly recommend the Jack Webster Foundation Research Fellowship to pursue in-depth stories that might otherwise not be possible.




Melanie de KlerkMelanie de Klerk
weekend assignment editor, Global National News

I just wanted to let you know that I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend the Complete TV Producer course in June of 2008. It was a fantastic experience! Not only did I learn a great deal from the very dedicated and experienced teaching staff but I also learned a great deal from fellow Poynter students. It was a unique experience to be able to work with such a wonderful group of people from all across the United States and Canada and to learn from their experiences in the business. I really feel that the skills that I learned during this week were invaluable and sharing ideas with other students helped generate new ideas and stimulate discussions on ways to improve ourselves as journalists.
So once again thank you for affording me this wonderful opportunity.




Denise HelmDenise Helm
news editor, Times Colonist

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Having the opportunity to attend the Poynter Institute for Online Leaders was great timing as I had recently been appointed to the new position of Online News Director. As media look at ways to deliver information to people at anytime, anywhere, being able to learn more about this fast changing arena was invaluable. Topics included how to measure your web audience, online ethics and priorities for digital media. The calibre of instruction was top notch and the opportunity to network with fellow journalists from uk.msn.com, CNN.com, as well as other broadcast and print outlets from Hawaii to Toronto was both informative and fun (especially those informal debrief sessions over beers). I've already been able to put what I've learned into practice here at the Times Colonist.




Hazel MacClementHazel MacClement
producer, CTV British Columbia

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I want to thank the Jack Webster Foundation for the opportunity to attend the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida. I took the Complete TV Producer between June 1st and 6th and found it to be an amazing experience. As a former reporter now working as the producer of Olsen on Your Side, I knew I needed something to help me get to the next level. The Complete TV Producer has given me new tools and new insight. A friend I made at the seminar compared the program to joining the Marines. For the first few days you're worn down by the awareness of all you are doing wrong. Then they build you back up as (hopefully) a better journalist and newsroom leader.

The syllabus is a good balance of practical tips and big picture courses. In a typical morning we might look at Better Storytelling, Promo Writing, or Web Research. Later, we'd look at What Your News Director Needs From You, Time Management Tips, or How to Make Tough Ethical Calls. That's just a small selection of the courses I took. I found all of it very useful. The instructors were solid and inspiring.

Of almost equal value to the course work, was the opportunity to meet other producers from across North America. Their experiences, frustrations, and coping techniques have added greatly to my knowledge base. They are also an ongoing source of support as we have pledged to stay in touch through the web.

Competence leads to confidence: that may be the single most important gain for me after Poynter. This week I'm worrying less, and doing more. I feel new, fresh with a clear vision for the path ahead. Thank you again for making that possible.




Catherine PopeCatherine Pope
reporter-producer, Global BC

My Poynter Experience

The Poynter course was one of the best I've taken! I applied for the Webster Journalism fellowship to attend the "backpack journalism" course expecting to learn how to shoot my own stories. I didn't expect the wealth of additional experiences I had while there. It was a joy to meet, work with and learn from a dozen other accomplished journalists from all over the world. The instructors at Poynter were top notch - especially team leader Al, who provided us with compelling, informative instruction and feedback. His humor, intellect and vast experience made the whole thing a blast. Also pleasantly surprising to me was that the other highly skilled instructors - an editor, a VJ from CNN and a VJ from a local TV News station - were all women. They were truly inspiring and provided us with invaluable first person accounts from the front lines.

Upon my return I've been begging the bosses for some equipment so I can use my new skills. Last week, I shot my own story in the Okanagan, which airs tomorrow on Global at 6. It was at a summer camp for kids of African heritage - who have all been adopted by BC families. And it most certainly wouldn't have happened were it not for the Webster Foundation's fellowship to attend the Poynter Institute course.

Thanks so very much!




Janis WarrenJanis Warren
reporter, Tri-City News

It was an honour and a privilege to have been chosen as a Jack Webster fellow. I learned a tremendous amount about online journalism in my one week at the Poynter Institute in St. Pete. I hope all reporters and editors selected by the foundation can take away the same amount of knowledge as I did! Thanks again for the opportunity.




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