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University of Regina School of Journalism alumni can be found in newsrooms across Canada and around the world. Here's what they say about the school.
Leisha Grebinksi (class of 2004) is the host of CBC's Saskatoon Morning show.
Nelson Bird (1997) , Sabeen Ahmed (2008) and Creeson Agecoutay (2013) are all at CTV Regina.
Dani Mario (2009) is the News Director at CTV Saskatoon. Before that she worked as an anchor at CBC Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where this video was shot.
Derek Stoffel is the Middle East correspondent for CBC News. Based in Jerusalem, he covers the Middle East region and files for CBC Radio, Television and CBC.ca.
"I applied to three different journalism schools--Ryerson, Carleton and the University of Regina. I was accepted to all three programs, but decided to stick at home for my studies. With hindsight, it was an excellent choice. I've worked with grads from the other schools, and I honestly feel U of R's people come out with a stronger education. More well rounded with a good focus on the technical side of journalism as well. The internship stands out as one of the best experiences I've had in journalism. I've watched some of the interns that come to the CBC headquarters in Toronto for a couple of weeks. We smile politely at them and then pretty much ignore them. I can't see it as being a good experience. It was exactly the opposite when I interned at CBC Radio in Regina. I was a member of the team that put a show to air. I was ON the air my second week. It was trial by fire, but it was a great learning experience. I see U of R grads now working across the country and when we talk, we always agree that the internship is what makes the University of Regina's journalism program the best in Canada. Hands down."
Brooks DeCillia is the executive producer of CBC News in Calgary. He worked as a national reporter for CBC News for almost ten years. His reports aired regularly on CBC Television’s The National and CBC Radio programs, including The World at Six and World Report. DeCillia attended journalism school at the University of Regina after getting an honours degree in international studies at the University of Saskatchewan. He also studied politics and communication at the London School of Economics and Political Science as a Chevening Scholar. His dissertation about the mainstream media’s coverage of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan won the Silverstone Prize. Brooks covered stories in south Asia, Europe and across North America. He was embedded with Canadian forces in Kandhahar in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007. DeCillia cycles and loves to travel with his son and wife.
"My internship at CBC News led to a full-time job at CBC within six months of graduating. I learned a lot and gained valuable practical skills and knowledge."
Jennifer Quesnel is a television and Radio News Reporter at CBC Saskatchewan (Saskatoon). She pitches stories, covers breaking news, does live hits, interviews people, and researches & produces investigative pieces.She also files stories to The National and does NewsNetwork hits.While at the School of Journalism she worked her internship as a chase producer at CBC Newsworld in Calgary.
"I booked guests from around the world, wrote introductions and background 'greens' for hosts to use on air, and got a firsthand look at how much it takes to create compelling live national television. That internship is where I got my taste for the adrenaline of breaking news. I worked with tough, smart, no-nonsense hosts, technical staff and producers. The length of the internship was great, because it actually allowed me to start feeling like part of the show.
Karin Yeske senior digital producer of mobile and digital content for CBC Saskatchewan and CBC Saskatoon. While at the School of Journalism Yeske was selected, along with six others, as a 2010 Joan Donaldson scholar. For four months, she worked at CBC News Network and contributed as a chase producer for “Connect with Mark Kelley” and a writer for “CBC News: Now.” Yeske also worked an eight month internship as a producer/reporter with Alberta Primetime. It is a provincial current affairs show that airs weeknights from the city of Edmonton. She worked collectively with CTV Edmonton and CTV Calgary.
"My internship opportunities and journalism school training helped me understand the news process. Most importantly, it helped me gain invaluable experience with all forms of media-- including radio, TV, print, web and documentary. This lead to several national awards for my production of the documentary Denendeh."
Jason Warick is Senior Reporter at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix newspaper. The position is largely general feature writing/investigative, but Warick also takes a special interest in First Nations/Metis affairs, which he’s covered for the past 10 years. He’s been with The StarPhoenix since 1996. Warick has written a pair of documentary films which have run nationally on the CBC. One of those films, Run, stemmed from a series of articles Warick wrote on the schools, hospitals and other infrastructure Kenyan athletes are building with their marathon race winnings. It caused a flood of Canadian donations and led to the construction of Kip Keino High School. Warick, one of Canada’s top marathon runners, is also a freelancer for Canadian Running and other magazines.
"My j-school experience taught me the mechanics of the craft so essential in today’s newsrooms such as darkroom film development and splicing audio tape, haha. But seriously, the school gave me an ethical grounding (Nick Russell’s high-minded, beard-stroking musings) combined with the courage to do what it took to get the story (Jim McKenzie forcing us to visit massage parlors and root through people’s garbage). The internship gave me a sense of the real world. After my four months at the Weyburn Review reporting on all beats, shooting my own pics, laying out pages, working the printing press, delivering papers and yes, selling ads for one day, I was able to adapt to almost any workplace and assignment thrown at me. Everything now is easy by comparison."
Nancy Carlson anchors News Hour Final at Global Edmonton. Her duties also include reporting and doing live hits for the Early News and News Hour. In addition to anchoring News Hour Final, she is also the executive producer. And as with any journalism position, she keeps her ear to the ground for new and enterprising stories.
"J-school provided me with real industry experience. Looking back on my first position after graduation, I was prepared for whatever the newsroom threw my way. As for my internship, it gave me an invaluable opportunity to network. I have the J-school to thank for helping me get to where I am today."
Ian Hamilton is a sports writer at the Regina Leader-Post and, aside from a three-year stint as the L-P’s city editor, has been a sports writer at the paper since 1989. He has a variety of responsibilities in the five-man department: He covers all of the U of R sports teams, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the CFL as a whole, the Western Hockey League (on occasion) and anything else that (a) intrigues him enough that he wants to turn it into a story or (b) is assigned by his boss, Rob Vanstone. Hamilton also writes a weekly attempt at humour called “The Spectator,” which is a look at the weird and wacky stuff that goes on in the world of sports. LP sportswriters may be asked to do what they call the “early” shift, which involves answering phone calls or compiling our local agate and local roundup for that evening. When Rob is on days off or on holidays, Hamilton also may be asked to look after his duties — budgeting the section every day with one of our deskers and then telling our wire page managers in Hamilton what wire stories (and pictures) to put on what pages in our section. There also are proofreading responsibilities and acting as a liaison for our writers, deskers, editors and photographers.
"My two years at the school involved an internship (and summer job) at the Lloydminster Meridian-Booster, a twice-weekly newspaper. While the instruction I received in my first semester at the J-School gave me an understanding of what was out there in the working world, my time in Lloydminster put it all into practice — writing, photography, layout, the whole nine yards. That gave me the basis for the career which I currently enjoy. The last two semesters in the school were valuable as well, but they basically just confirmed everything I had learned at the Meridian-Booster. In short, the two years I spent in the school gave me the work ethic and the knowledge I needed to succeed in this business — and also helped form a relationship that led to my marriage to one of my classmates, the former Carolyn Sereda. I’d say I did pretty well."
Tamara Cherry is the crime reporter for CTV Toronto. Her duties include cultivating sources in the various units of the various police services across the GTA; reporting on crime- and police-related stories; and coming up with enterprise features for her beat. If she shows up at your door, it probably isn't good news.
"I often sing the praises of the University of Regina J-School for its amazing internship program. Without it, I can't see how I could possibly be where I am today. My four months at the Leader-Post got me that critical foot in the door that was needed to get the ball rolling. From one internship, to the next, to the next, I tell any students who ask, "Get as many internships as you possibly can." I've met so many students from other journalism schools who are either granted brief, two-week internships, or are put into roles where their duties are so menial that it adds little to their resumes. The U of R J School truly helped me build the portfolio needed to get me from Point A to B and so on. Moreover, the small class sizes are such an asset. Many schools accept a seemingly countless number of journalism students straight out of high school, knowing the pool will be narrowed by the third and fourth years. I think the two years pre-journalism, coupled with the competitive entry program at the U of R J school are very important."
Rob Vanstone is the sports editor and sports columnist at the Regina Leader-Post, where he has worked since graduating from J-School in 1987.
"The J-School gave me a foot in the door, grounding in the basics, opportunities to try a bunch of cool things, the ability to land a summer job that turned into a career, and precious memories of great friends -- who are gathering on Canada Day weekend for a 25th-anniversary reunion. I owe so much to the J-School and all the wonderful people there, past and present."
Angela Hill is the news director at News Talk 650 CKOM/ckom.com in Saskatoon. "We have news casts every half an hour and a website that is updated constantly. I work with the reporters and anchors on a daily basis, coaching and providing feedback. In the mornings I work as the assignment editor making sure we are covering the biggest, most important and most interesting stories of the day. My role also includes writing and voicing some news as required and speaking during our talk shows as part of a round table. I’m also responsible for recruitment of reporters and producers,"
"The University of Regina Journalism School taught me how to be a journalist, not only the practical skills of interviews, writing, shooting tape and gathering sound, but the ethics of it – what we can do, what we can’t, what’s legal, what isn’t. The j-school provided me with mentors and support systems that I still use today. The internship allowed me to get a feel for the fast-paced newsroom environment and taught me not to be afraid of making a call. It is really intimidating to make cold calls those first days on internship, but when you know that people are relying on the information you will gather, you pick up the phone and make the call and then you call someone else, and you keep calling until you get everything you need and a bunch of information you didn’t. Then you call one more person to make sure everything you have is correct."
Have a look at what some of our other graduates are up to.
We love to hear how our alumni are doing. Please take a minute to fill out our online Grad Update form. You can also keep in touch with us and with your classmates on the URSJ Almuni Facebook page, or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to say hi.