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Talking and listening

FaceForward: The People and Stories of Memorial
By Janet Harron | July 2, 2014

A love for talking and listening has made journalism a perfect fit for Alyson Samson, a native of Port Union, N.L., and the recipient of the 2014 CBC Radio Peter Gzowski internship.

The arts student graduated in May with a double major in English and communication studies. She says she didn’t so much  realize she was interested in journalism until she found herself in the middle of it while writing stories for the university’s student-run newspaper and volunteering at Memorial’s radio station, CHMR.

“I started writing an article for the Muse here and there because I thought it would be fun to get out and talk to musicians and artists I admired,” she said. “It was really just a legitimization of my curiosity. I love to talk, and I love to listen to peoples' stories, so it just became a very natural fit for me. If you've got five minutes I'll be sure to get your life story.”

Ms. Samson credits CHMR’s news director Colleen Power for being a huge influence on her career and for encouraging her pursuit of the Gzowski internship. She was hired in the MUCEP student employment program to work as assistant news director and ended up on air interviewing members of the local arts community.

“When I found out I received the internship, well first I believe I hyperventilated, and then I called my mom, and then Colleen,” she recalled. 

After spending a week in Toronto for training with the other four Gzowski interns -- one each from Trent, McGill and Simon Fraser -- Ms. Samson has been “thrown in head first” at the CBC bureau in St. John’s.

On her second day she took a road trip to Ferryland, conducted her first interview, returned to the studio, edited her story and then wrote a script.

“It was the best learning experience they could have given me,” Ms. Samson enthused.

A typical day at the CBC consists of looking for stories online, attending meetings, script writing, audio cutting, and -- Ms. Samson’s favourite activity -- getting out and talking to people.

The current situation at the national broadcaster concerns her and she hopes the Gzowski internship will be preserved regardless of the ongoing budget cutting.

“It offers amazing opportunities for people to explore a career that otherwise may prove challenging to break into -- particularly for those of us who did not pursue journalism degrees from the start.”

Ms. Samson is currently considering applying to journalism schools after her internship ends in August.