Staying fearless in a dangerous time

staying fearless - the collector blog
Journalists will always have stories to tell.

Canadian journalists are going through difficult times in terms of employement.

Yesterday, Postmedia, Canada’s largest publisher of newspapers, cut 90 jobs as a result of merging newsrooms in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa. Affected journalists have been sharing their thoughts on Twitter.

From the business perspective, this kind of move might be viewed as a ‘smart’ way of operating newspapers under one editorial team. Taking care of budgets in the middle of a delicate economy might make sense.

In reality, it’s not a smart move at all from the content perspective.

Less staff will not be able to sell more stories. Solid teams are required to report relevant information, gain credibility and, hence, keep generating revenue. The industry depends on journalists to make all these things happen.

Journalists are the essence of the business, and they’re constantly leaving the newsrooms due to cuts.

True. Postmedia must pay debts right when the Canadian dollar is struggling; therefore, it costs more money to pay. Burning question: why is it smarter to fire 90 people than cut executives who desperately need $1M in bonuses?

On Nov. 27, 2015, CBC news published an article that reported details on those bonuses. Postmedia’s priorities and visions are clearly stated: $400,000 for CEO Paul Godfrey and $25,000 for National Post president Gordon Fisher. They both made the company’s acquisition of the Sun possible. That’s why they deserved a prize.

How about storytelling? Isn’t that the core of the business?

Today, one of my instructors at SAIT asked us, journalism students, to stay optimistic. He said that we need to keep developping skills in order to deal with difficult times. No doubt that it’s important to stay fearless.

My thoughts are with the talented journalists that were affected. Remember, dear colleagues, readers will always have an appetite for stories well told.



Photo credit: Gabriele Forcina at



Christmas spirit

Zoolights – Calgary Zoo

I confess I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit in a while.

I don’t know. Other situations seem to be more powerful than taking the time to feel that spirit.

This year, the season is different.

It’s probably the first time that I’m excited about Christmas because I feel I’m part of new traditions.

I confirmed that at the Zoolights in the Calgary Zoo. I’m so grateful for being able to perceive all these new vibes in the air.

I’m loving every second of it.


What’s next for Calgary?

Ken King talking about CalgaryNEXT


Last Tuesday I attended a press conference by Ken King, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Flames.

He came to SAIT Polytechnic to talk about the project CalgaryNEXT.

The objective of this project consists of a globally recognized centrepiece that will transform the way Calgarians live, work and play. At the same time, it will be a destination for world class events.

CalgaryNEXT is yet to be approved. King is explaining the plan to different publics including citizens, the government and companies. He’s convinced that this is the right time to propose this kind of project and make it a reality.

In that aspect, I admire his enthusiasm. It’s true that, right now, the economy crisis is critical in the province. It seems like there’s other issues with higher priority; however, in the long term, a project like this can bring great benefits in terms of employment, tourism and entertainment.

I’m curious to see how the project progresses.


Portraits and Accomplishments

Jim Carson
Jim Carson

Last week I talked about how challenging it can be to shoot portraits, especially when approaching strangers.

I went for it two days ago, and I met Jim Carson.

I spotted him around the Core Shopping Centre. He was smoking while sitting on a bench.

So I told him that I was working on a project for my photography class; I needed help, blah, blah.

He said: “yeah, I can help. Do you want me to remove my clothes?”
“No, it’s okay. It’s a cold day,” I replied.

After taking the pictures, the conversation kept going. That was pretty cool because I really felt I was overcoming my fear.

He’s from New Brunswick, but has been living in Calgary for a while. Even when he already knows what to expect from the weather, he still struggles to adapt.

Jim constantly asked if I’ll do Photography for a living. I said that I’m looking for the balance between writing, photography and design.

He wished me luck and said that if he could take a course on something, that’d be on photography. He’s thinking about it.

If that happens, he hopes our paths cross again to take each other’s pictures.

I hope so, too. That would be awesome.

Portraits and Challenges

New photography challenge: shooting portraits
New photography challenge: shooting portraits

On November 13th, I’m turning in a Photo assignment that involves portraits.

I must confess that this is challenging for me.

It’s difficult to approach strangers with a professional camera in hand. I feel they’re going to ask me to go away.

Actually, that happened a couple of weeks back. I was at a mall and introduced myself to a guy who had finished lunch. He was sitting at a table checking messages on his cell phone.

He didn’t even reply. He was just letting me speak.

When I told him that I wanted to take his picture, he stood up and said: “no, no, no…if you want, I can go sit somewhere else. Take a picture of someone else.”

That felt weird. I was amazed at how negative his response was. A single “no” was enough.

It’s an experience, anyway. Some people will say yes; some people will say no.
One moves on, right?

Now that I have this assignment, I wonder what’s in store for me.

Yes, I’ll approach strangers. I have to overcome this.
Yes, I’ll do so on my own.

I’ll let you know what happens, and hopefully I will post those pictures here.

Photo Credit: Benjamin Combs at

Kraftwerk played in Calgary, and I was there

The legendary music band Kraftwerk played in Calgary for the very first time in its 45-year career.

On September 17th, I enjoyed their 3D concert at the Jubilee Auditorium. I got my ticket two days before and spent a lot of money on buying a shirt as a souvenir, but I didn’t care. It’s, Kraftwerk!

Kraftwerk playing Tour de France
Kraftwerk playing Tour de France

Photo Credit: Takahiro Kyono with some rights reserved

It’s also important to note that, in that week, I ended up with less money to spend on groceries…then again, it’s Kraftwerk! It was also my first concert in Canada, the first time that I saw this band live and the first time I interviewed people in this kind of event.

I had an assignment for my writing class, so this show was the ideal topic for me to work on.

I must say that I got lucky with the interviews part. Two guys, Mike and Tony, were talking about music as they waited for the doors to open.

I took my time to join the conversation. I wasn’t sure how to introduce myself or how to tell them that I wanted to ask them a few questions.

I let it happen naturally, and soon the three of us were analyzing how Kraftwerk has influenced bands and artists like Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Joy Division and Madonna among others.

Mike, 51, said that his aunt has always been into this band. She played her Autobahn LP all the time and he just loved the music. When he learned that it was touring Canada, he didn’t hesitate to drive all the way from Winnipeg to make it in time.

Kraftwerk's LP's
Kraftwerk’s LP’s

Photo Credit: Francisco Luis Prieto with some rights reserved

On the other hand, Tony, 28, became a huge fan of the band thanks Madonna’s album Confessions on a Dance Floor. He got himself a ticket on the front raws to enjoy the 3D experience. He also chose a very unique outfit for the night: black trousers, black tie and a red long-sleeved shirt to emulate the band’s members’ clothing on the cover of the Man Machine album.

Another guy even approached him to congratulate him on that idea. It was certainly brilliant.

Although the concert didn’t last too long, the graphics and the music were perfect. I still can’t believe that I was actually there!

I went on my own; however, talking to Mike and Tony was a nurturing experience. It taught me that there’s nothing wrong with joining conversations; we all had something in common after all.

Breaking the ice leads the way to discovering new stories.