Advice from Jasmeet Sidhu
The journalism business in Canada can be a tough nut to crack into, especially if you are not in a j-school (I went to the University of Toronto and did Peace and Conflict Studies). There are only a handful of internships at a handful of major newspapers, television outlets etc.
However, one way to really distinguish yourself, gain incredible skills in reporting, and really add a completely unique perspective to your writing and the way you look at issues, is to carve out your own opportunities around the world.
In the summer after my second year at University, I joined one of my professors on a research trip to Namibia in sub-Saharan Africa. One day I took the afternoon off from transcribing interview notes, and asked a taxi man to drop me off at the offices of the Namibian, the country’s national newspaper. I waited 30 minutes for the news editor to come back from lunch, and in 30 seconds I explained to him what I’m all about: Canadian, here for a research trip for 3 months, would love to write, here are three ideas. He said yes, and I began to write for the paper. It was an incredible experience to learn how a newspaper operates on another continent, and an incredible way to really learn about issues in the country that I was calling home for the summer.
This became my M.O. – hijacking study/volunteer abroad opportunities to fulfill and explore my skills as a journalist (I’ve done the same when I went to Poland, Denmark, Malaysia and Indonesia). And if you decide to pursue journalism full-time back in Canada, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with global experience, and clippings from all over the world.
Editor’s note: Check out Jasmeet’s impressive accolades! She earned it all without having gone to J-school.
- J-school: None. Liberal arts all the way!
- Publications: Toronto Star, Huffington Post
- Platforms: web, print, video
- Blog: jasmeetsidhu.com
- Twitter: @jasmeetsidhu
- Link to a good sample of your work: Climate change blog I started and ran from 2008-2010. I traveled to Poland and Denmark for the UN Climate Change conference reporting for the blog: http://thestar.blogs.com/climate
During the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, Jasmeet interviewed NDP leader Jack Layton (December 2009). Watch her in action: