Journalists are born storytellers with an insatiable sense of curiosity, a drive to get to the truth and a desire to witness history. You can often find them behind the scenes, digging for the story, interviewing people, shooting video and still images, and describing happenings.
College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Journalism program focuses on three mediums – print, radio and television. Currents is peeling back the curtain for a look at people that represent each facet of the industry. They are at the forefront of their fields, doing what they love. What they were trained for. Telling the stories of the people they meet.
Yet another CNA graduate who had work even before graduating was Martin Jones, a native of St. John’s.
Martin completed the one-year Journalism post-diploma program in 2017. He landed an internship with CBC in St. John’s and has been working with them ever since.
As co-host of CBC Radio One’s Newfoundland Morning Show, he covers all of Newfoundland and southern Labrador (excluding the Avalon). The program is also streamed live on CBC Radio’s website, so you can hear him on-air for three hours every weekday.
“I get to write stories and do items for television,” Jones said. “As a host, I also enjoy making public appearances and speaking with schools and organizations at special events. That’s a perk of my job!”
Jones says journalism is a wonderfully rewarding career, where you are immersed in history, politics and current affairs.
“It’s a lot of hard work and long days, but it has allowed me to meet and speak with some incredible people across this province and beyond. No two days are the same, and there’s always a new story right around the corner just waiting to be told,” Jones said.
“Having someone trust you enough to tell those stories is something I hold very special. I never take that privilege for granted. Changing my career path and finally doing Journalism at CNA was the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s quite literally changed my life.”
It’s something he certainly would encourage others to pursue.
“I say go for it! It’s a life full of hard work, long hours and tight deadlines. Every day is a new challenge but that’s the exciting part,” Jones said. “If you like to research, and to edit and tell stories using sound and visuals, then this is definitely a career that would fit. If you are inquisitive by nature and don’t like stopping until you find answers to your questions, journalism is a great career option for you.”
Allan Bradbury graduated from the Journalism program in 2020, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Allan came to CNA after completing a Bachelor’s degree that didn’t lead to finding full-time work in his field. Since he had a great interest in photography and writing, he thought the Journalism program would be up his alley. He was right!
The St. John’s native can now be found quite a long way from his home province, working as a staff writer at the Fort Frances Times in Fort Frances, Ontario (approximately four hours from Thunder Bay).
“We’re a small newspaper with three writers and an editor, but the paper has many other departments outside of our editorial department. We have a commercial printing operation, and web design and hosting division as well,” Bradbury said.
The newspaper publishes once a week and Bradbury can be found around his town with camera in hand, covering a wide range of subjects. His special passion though is sports, which has become his beat – a journalism term for specialized reporting that is focused on a specific area. The skills he learned at CNA have certainly come in handy in his position.
“I also got to use some of the drone video skills I learned in the CNA program last spring to shoot video of flooding on the lake and river that border Fort Frances,” Bradbury recalled. “When I got to the paper here, I happened to be the reporter with the most interest in sports so that became my primary beat. But I have also covered town council meetings, our municipal election, school board meetings and all kinds of other aspects of life. I also had the opportunity to cover a protest at the border here last year during the convoy protest in Ottawa.”
Bradbury’s favourite part of his time at CNA was that they got to learn so many disciplines of journalism – he has used many of these since starting out working in the industry. His main piece of advice for people considering it as a career path, is to be sure to learn as much as possible about the area you’re most interested in.
“One of the things that I really got into while I was in school was to read, listen and watch a lot of different news programming from all over the world. It helped to shape my style of reporting and has made me interested in all the different media of storytelling that are out there,” he said.
“Depending on your area of interest you can focus your intake of news/media. If you want to be a sports reporter then read sports reporting; if you’re interested in political reporting, take that in. I’ve always been interested in a lot of different aspects of the world, so I have a wide range of news interests.”
Each day, you can find Marykate O’Neill of Mount Pearl bringing you the latest news from this province on your screen of choice to watch NTV News. But when she started out at CNA, it wasn’t in your traditional setting.
“My time at CNA was very interesting to say the least, but in the best possible way. I started the two-year Journalism program in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and learning journalism online wasn’t easy, but in a weird way I think it pushed my boundaries and proved that I can handle everything that comes with being a journalist.”
O’Neill says that as a journalist, you need to be able to adapt to change, think on your feet and be able to adapt to different situations quickly. That was certainly the case for her since she was hired for a full-time job before completing the program.
“As we moved into in-person learning, I also had a lot of moving parts along the way. I started a part-time job with VOCM and doing both wasn’t easy, but with the help of my incredible instructors and fellow classmates, we made it work,” she recalled.
“However, sometimes opportunity knocks on your door and you just have to answer, and that’s what happened for me a few weeks in to my last year of journalism school. I had a job offer at NTV, so I never got to finish my last year. So, while my time was short and mostly online, it was great. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
O’Neill highly recommends CNA’s Journalism program to anyone who is interested in the field.
“It is amazing to learn from remarkable people who you look up to and who were either former journalists themselves or are still working in the field. I believe the reason a news organization thought I was capable to take on this job without finishing the whole program is because of how much you learn in this program and the way the instructors set you up for success right from the get-go. They truly want the best for the students and build them every day into being future journalists. If anybody is thinking or dreaming about being a journalist, I highly recommend looking into the program at CNA. It is top tier.”
O’Neill also encourages people to always follow their dreams.
“Sometimes (those dreams) may feel unreachable, but then it becomes so incredibly rewarding when you reach them. Work hard but dream harder.”
It was the combination of hard work, dedication and CNA training that led her dream job.
“My career now is everything I could’ve ever hoped for, dreamed for and more. My goal when I started at CNA was to one day be a reporter at NTV News. I truly never thought it would happen for me but being here now, a year into the job, I still find it hard to believe I have a spot here.”
For her, being a journalist means being able to bring someone’s story to life.
“It comes with a drive that pushes me and I think will continue to push me for the rest of my life. It is truly the most rewarding job in the world. I can honestly say that all my dreams have come true here at NTV News.”
For more information about CNA’s Journalism program, visit www.cna.nl.ca.