It’s been a year that continues to see firsts, and today it was having my first freelanced story published.

From the story pitch, to the research and interviews, to the writing and editing (and taking the latter two and repeating them a dozen times over) – I carried this baby start to finish, and am proud to see it in Business in Vancouver this week.

In May, Kwantlen Polytechnic University announced that the owner and chairman of Boston Pizza International would assume the role of chancellor this fall.

I got to speak with George Melville twice, and on both occasions I had the opportunity to gain a little more insight into what he thinks about community, education and business.

Check out George Melville: Making the grade  – the product of my first few steps in freelance journalism.

Share

After having been overseas for a whopping grand-total of three whole weeks – without sniffle-filled calls back home, or the stifling of sorrows with Molson Canadian and grade-A bacon – I’ve settled.

Not “settled” in the sense that I’m resigning myself to some mundane, routine sort of existence: “Settled” in the sense that I’m on both feet, standing tall, fiercely looking out towards an Atlantic horizon (picture me on the coast, because I’m not actually near it), and possibly craving bacon, but definitely not crying about it.

I won’t pretend to get a lot of questions from fans: I won’t pretend to have any fans. But I do get questions, some from people who care about me, some from those who probably couldn’t care less. Here are my answers:

So, what do you think of Preston so far?

I actually think Preston is kind of a lovely little-feeling but not really little town: The brickwork is old and crumbling, the pubs have interesting names, the accents are thick, there is always something to do…

You think Preston is lovely?

Well, ya. I’m in a new country, everything is different.

Preston is boring, I feel sorry for you.

Okay.

What course are you in?

[Editor’s note: The term “course” in England refers to the program or Major you’re in.] I’m studying International Journalism.

What classes are you taking?

International Journalism, which is basically a class in advanced feature writing. I’m also taking Terrorism & Human Rights, and Political Islam & Islamic Movements. They are all great. Especially the fact that they all just happen to fall on Monday and Tuesday.

What do you mean? You only have class two days a week?

Five-day weekends.

So what do you do with all your time?

I explore Preston…

Are you American?

I’m Canadian.

What’s the weather like there?

Preston feels colder to me, being from mild-weathered Vancouver.

Where’s Vancouver?

West Coast, near the U.S. border.

I always thought Canada would be really cold…

It can be further up north, away from the coast, back east.

Do you like hockey?

Yes.

You have nice Wellies.

What’s a Wellie?

Rain boots. Why, what do you call them?

Gumboots…

That’s so American.

So what are you going to do this “weekend”?

Explore Prest-… I’m going to Manchester.

 

PS – Hi Grandma.

Share

This week will be my last at Breakfast Television, as I am now just over two weeks away from finishing my second year at Kwantlen.

Last week was great: I went to two live-eye events, meaning I was on location and away from the station for two of the shows. I spent Wednesday morning with Dawn, who reported from Florence Nightingale elementary school in Vancouver where mayor Gregor Robertson was flipping pancakes for the KidSafe Project Society “Heroes Among us” breakfast.

On Thursday, I went to Kwantlen’s Cloverdale campus with Greg to learn about the school’s farrier program.

I learned a lot from being on location. Not only are you constantly faced with the challenges of broadcasting live (timing, changes, etc.), but you also have to make each segment different, visually and content-wise.

After three hours in a barn on Thursday (dying of allergies), I headed off to Cavalia for a pre-tape. Again, it was good to see how much planning and effort goes into making each clip unique and interesting.

Friday was a calmer day, and I was given an election project to work on.

I spent this weekend catching up on sleep, working on school projects and packing away my life. Having lived in a house with no tables and only two patio chairs, an air mattress and a baby grand piano on the main floor for what seems like ages, I’m looking forward to getting the move over with.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

Share

Tonight was my first opportunity to cover a Canucks game.

It was an away game against the Minnesota Wild, and because of my class schedule, I had to write my recap solely off of the box score.

It may not be spectacular, in fact it isn’t. But for a pageant-gal like me, I am still shocked that I am able to write about short-handed goals and five-minute majors as though I’ve spent my life at the rink.

I am proud to report that I have approximately 7 hockey terms in my sport vocabulary, and that I can successfully interpret hockey stats.

Writing for the Eagles was my first personal point, and covering the Canucks is my second. All I need is to pursue a third opportunity that is completely out of my comfort zone, and then they’ll be callin’ me Hat Trick Hayles…

Tweet me!

And be sure to check out my lovely game recap at Vancity Sports Blog.

@HayleyWoodin

Share

If you don’t understand the story of Peter Pan, you definitely won’t understand Peter Panties, the avant-garde play put on by The Cultch.

On the surface, the 60-minute performance seems disjointed and nonsensical. The characters are static, the plot is meddled and the play randomly references CSI.

But the true story of Peter Pan is not about the fantastic adventures in Neverland, it’s about “the boy who would never grow up.”

The play has three fairly prominent male characters, one being Peter Pan, another being his father. All three men struggle with the realities of life, and cope through escapism.

Throughout the performance, each one comes to terms with their “Peter Pan syndrome” and essentially grow up: They grow up through having sex for the first time, getting married and having children respectively. They reach life milestones and in doing so, transition from acting childish to becoming adults.

Interjected between scenes was footage of two of the playwrights discussing the play’s scenes. One had Down syndrome, and was explaining to the other his ideas for the plot. The way in which he explained his ideas was not in a way the average adult would: He spoke both extremely logically and literally.

It was his debut as a writer, a personal milestone in his life. He also acted in the play, and his character gets married. In a sense, he was like Peter Pan: Because of his condition, he developed more slowly, and struggled with growing up.

It took me about 48 hours to begin to comprehend the depth of the production, and upon reflection I enjoy the essence of the play. It had meaning, but the message was buried under the overall weirdness of the performance.

Unless you are a Cultch regular, Peter Panties isn’t the type of play I would recommend if you’re looking for a fun night out.

Share

Many years ago when I was in my all-girl band (with a male drummer), I learned an interesting lesson.

Our “managers,” the lead singer’s parents and my extended family, were very involved in the promotion of our band, and took their kids to casting calls of all kinds. They explained that you never say no, and you always say yes to opportunities, no matter what.

So for instance, they would joke that if they took their son to a casting call and the producers asked him if he could speak Portugese, you say yes, go home and learn all of the Portugese you can.

Of course it’s maybe not the smartest thing to do, but the moral of the story is to not close any doors.

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2011 is to be fearless, meaning that I am going to strive to not shy away from any positive opportunities presented to me.

It was with this in mind, along with the fact that I recently completed an amazing two-week internship at 24 Hours Vancouver, that I decided to begin covering the Surrey Eagles Junior A hockey team for Vancity Sports Blog.

The founder of the site contacted me right at the beginning of January and pitched to me the chance to cover the team and submit articles on a regular basis.

I enjoy taking things on, and am looking to expand my journalism portfolio, so I gladly welcomed the opportunity.

It wasn’t until the day before the Eagles’ first home game of 2011 that it really hit me: I know absolutely nothing about hockey, apart from the basics, like how the players try and aim at the opposing team’s net, and they sometimes get the puck in.

The joke that you should tell potential employers whatever they want to hear, and then go home and learn it, became all too real…

Luckily, I know several people who are great sportswriters who have guided me while I’ve written two home game articles and one away game recap.

What have I learned?

Well, I’ve learned that I do like hockey, I’ve learned some lingo and I’ve learned that I should think things through before I commit several weeks to doing something I know nothing about. But all in all, I’m glad I took someone up on the chance to do something completely out of my comfort zone, and I do believe that I’m better for it.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

And check out my Surrey Eagles posts at Vancity Sports Blog or at the Surrey Eagles’ website.

Share