Saturday, January 28, 2006

the POD Exclusive: Pakistan Earthquake Pictures

The POD has been given the opportunity to release exclusive photographs from the regions of Pakistan devastated by last October's powerful earthquake, courtesy of Dr. Khurram Sher, who was in the country with a Canadian relief team.

Please do not distribute or reproduce without proper credit. Thank you.

Hiking up roads damaged by landslides
A damaged hotel. This is what used to be the second floor, now resting on the ground. Dr. Sher climbed up the steps (between the 2nd and 3rd pillars on the left) and visited what used to be the third floor. He also took advantage of whatever was left of the restrooms.

A bus that was traveling on the mountain pass when the earthquake struck.

All that's left standing of a clinic. In front of the door is an intravenous pole.

Road damaged by landslide.

The relief team's home base - resting on the roof of a flattened store.

Possibly the reason why Dr. Sher took advantage of the restroom in the hotel. Here is their facility at camp.

The remains of a school.

Unwanted donated clothes.

Friday, January 27, 2006

We've got to be there

Last semester, it was Melanie and Sandra taking advanced radio. This semester, it's Darcy and I who are truly getting "real education for the real world" (Concordia's motto) in the twice weekly 3-hour newsroom shifts that end with a complete newscast.

My Wednesday a.m. shift started on a tragic note with news of 17-year-old Brigitte Serre's shocking murder at a St. Leonard gas station.

This was a breaking story that definitely needed to be pursued, but how?

We're a bunch of students with no transportation except our feet and public transit, and St. Leonard is not close-by, especially since our "newsroom" - complete with phones, editing equipment, a spanking new real studio, and control room - is located on the Loyola campus, which is in Notre Dame de Grace (NDG). Plus, we don't really broadcast, except to our team, so there isn't THAT much of an incentive to get out there.

Yet, our hero Jared Book took the assignment like a true reporter and set off for the scene, armed with the address (found after some online sleuthing) and a public transit instruction sheet on how to get there.

He took Concordia's shuttle bus to get downtown, hopped on the Metro, then switched over to a bus for a 20-minute ride, and landed at the corner of Lacordaire and des Grandes Prairies to join all the other reporters. And oh yeah, he doesn't have a transit pass, so he had to pay for the trip out of his own pocket.

When we went "on-air" at noon, Jared was on the line, reporting live from St. Leonard, updating us on the situation and describing what he was seeing....including the bouquet of flowers that had already started arriving.

Flowers piling up does not seem like a big deal, and we wouldn't have known about them had Jared simply followed the story from our newsroom.

But the flowers - and how soon they arrived - are almost like the Richter scale of the community, giving us a sense of the strength of the jolt that this senseless murder has sent through the community.

It might not seem that important now, but when the story is developing, the flowers can just be that extra touch that makes a story human, and adds to its credibility.

The flowers are just a very small example, but unfortunately, too many of us try to sit back in the newsroom and tell the world about what's happening out there without ever being there. Thus, we miss out on the small things that make a story come alive, like the neighbour who trembles when speaking about what happened, the child who inquires about why there are so many police cars in the area following a shooting outside a daycare, and the real stories of people that back up the findings of a study (which would otherwise make for a dry story filled with numbers and findings).

That's why we've got to be there, whenever possible.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mr. Harper's Car Key

Today was the second to last "dry run" for my Advanced Radio News class. I'll confess, I haven't even touched the software editing program - Pro Tools - yet. So it came as a welcome relief when today's AE (Ben Raby), offered to let me do an Op-Ed.

Now first you'll need a little background information.

First, Stephen Harper and the Conservative party of Canada, have just won the right to form the next minority government.

Secondly, do you remember your Dad's old car, maybe your Grandmother's? You know, the one that needed two keys to operate? One for the ignition (engine), and another that opened the doors and trunk. You do? Well you're all set then.

What follows is my Op-Ed. It came readily to me, because it came the instant I saw the results.

harpers keys/Darcy/Jan 25,2006 - 3pm/OP-ED/Concordia News/pg7

Stephen Harper has won Canada's car key...for all the good that will do him.

He ran a compaign with a focus on accountability...well Mr. Harper open up the trunk and tell the nation what you see.

While you're at it, have your mechanics pop the hood and check the fluids...we've been noticing a drop in power recently. You can even sit in the driver's seat and play at being PM... just don't ask for the engine key...not yet anyway, because with a minority government, Canadians are not ready to see where you want to drive them.

You understand don't you?

Cautious parents get nervous when their kids are too eager to put the pedal to the metal... especially when they have so little in the way of practical experience.

Afterall, it's only prudent to make sure everything is in running order...before that first spin.