Professional Development with Douglas Goold at the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA).
I spent three days under Doug’s wing in mid-June, at a time when he might have been at his busiest. Despite other duties, he took care of me like a star employee.
He also had the perfect approach to hosting an internship — he wanted to hear what I wanted to do, and he offered more options than I even had time for.
Doug essentially reoriented me to the professional intuition one needs to thrive in journalism. Rather than simply being a storyteller, I learned about the importance of being a storyteller with ambitious business sense. By this, I don’t mean that I took lessons in making wads of money. Doug showed me how every moment is an opportunity to do good journalism, for multiple outlets, in a way that will advance my career.
For example, time with Doug inspired me to take advantage of where I am — the North. His astute sense of news and current affairs saw the veritable gold mine of stories I was sitting on. In tandem, he pointed out that no matter how great my stories are, I need to work harder at establishing and maintaining contacts with the movers and shakers that bring these stories to the public, namely the publishers, editors and producers of the news world.
With this in mind, we devoted the bulk of my internship to building up contacts based in Toronto. I spoke with several producers with CBC Radio, editors at the Globe and Mail and The Walrus, the country’s relatively new literary-ish magazine. I also spent time with each staff member in the office, learning about their roles, from conference organizing to fund raising to editing. As a result, I spent some time critiquing and proofreading CIIA’s newsletter, and discussing future volunteer reporting I can offer the organization.
I’d like to add that, similar to my meetings with Doug, I was very inspired by my talks with Bob Johnstone. Moreover, I’d like to give special credit to the CIIA staff, including Michelle Rossi, Janet Greaves, Michael Berk and LiJeanne Lee who made my internship an exceptional one. In a nutshell: every experience I had at CIIA was worthwhile and positive.
I greatly admire the work that Doug and his staff are doing. The office runs well, and runs hard. And for all the nitty-gritty details they sort through, the outcome is spectacular, as visible in the web site and conferences they offer, the publications they provide, and the huge resource they have in their library.
Lastly, I owe a big thanks to John Fraser, for his role in making the internship happen. It’s almost scary how well John matched me to CIIA, without having met me, in person. Thank you.
I can confidently say that the aims of the Greg Clark Award were achieved through this internship.
Best regards from the North,