What's new in the Star's radio room?
By Roger Gillespie
Every year around this time we say goodbye to journalists who have worked in the Toronto Star radio room, some work here for a school year, others stay for a couple of years.
Then one spring day they scatter to jobs in newsrooms across the country. When they leave we start all over with a new group of aspiring young journalists.
Our radio room reporters are post secondary students, some from J-schools, others from university programs that range from psychology to politics to English. They work here part time, a couple of eight hour shifts a week, covering crime and breaking news.
They come to work here because they love journalism and many of them want to make it their life's work.
On Tuesday, we will welcome Alex Hering and Lauren O'Neil, two new radio roomers.
They will join Gloria Er-Chua and Fabiola Carletti who started work at the Star three weeks ago.
They are impressive and they are evidence there's life left in the business of being an ink stained wretch.
Meet our new radio room reporters.
Fabiola Carletti is studying journalism at the University of British Columbia with a specialization in Environmental Studies.
She is a Salvadoran-born Toronto-raised twenty-something with a wide assortment of interests and concerns, including famous and fringe theatre, cartooning, solutions-focused journalism, literary non-fiction, and the quirks that define her generation.
Fabiola is all about trying new things and pushing limits, especially when it comes to borderline bad ideas. To this end, she has shaved her head, thrown herself a birthday party with strangers, and worked on a organic farm during a harsh Quebec winter.
Fabiola is fluent in Spanish and amusing in French. She's also interested in learning Italian, if only to properly pronounce her own last name.
If you’re interested in the formalities, you’ll find them in the “About Fabiola” and “Resume” sections of her blog, where she straightens her tie and demonstrates that she's serious about this thing called journalism.
Gloria Er-Chua got her political studies degree and street smarts from Queen's University. When she couldn't choose between law and journalism, she decide to plunge into the "real world" instead. On a semi-calculated whim, she applied for an internship with the Star.
A Malaysian-Chinese, Gloria immigrated to Toronto when she was 5. She credits her life experiences for sparking her interest in local anti-racism work.Although she has come to terms with the fact that she's no longer a radical student activist, she’s still negotiating the journalistic code of neutrality -- if she were that Iraqi journalist, she thinks she might have thrown the shoe too.
She keeps busy by exploring the city one TTC station at a time and creating drama in the community theatre world. An actor by nature, she's often suckered into stage managing.
Gloria has been getting into bhangra/hip-hop collabs recently. She may occasionally need them to keep her awake on quiet overnight shifts.
Alex Hering has just graduated from Texas State University in San Marcos, with a degree in Electronic Media. She came to Canada with aspirations of working with the best, kicking butt, then, hopefully, finding her first job in journalism.
In high school Alex developed a passion for journalism and has since grabbed every opportunity to get experience. This has taken her everywhere from the chasing stories in the "crime jeep" in San Antonio, to covering President Obama's inauguration for the Scripps Howard Foundation in Washington, to figuring out the wig hierarchy in the British Courts while at the Press Association in London. Journalism isn't glamorous or well paid but Alex loves everything else about it and is looking forward to her newest assignment at the Toronto Star. It must be the Washington Post-style newsroom which she toured just days ago that struck her the most. It is a family -- much like a cool club -- that everyone wants to join.
Although she's only been in Toronto for a short while, Alex already loves the differences between the United States and Canada. This wannabe tree hugger doesn't mind having three recycling bins in her kitchen, although she still prefers the Cowboys to the Maple Leafs. Alex can't handle more than two drinks (unlike most of her Texan peers), so paying $12 for a six pack is OK - she'll never get around to finishing the whole thing anyway. And she loves her food, so it's fantastic to find Caribbean, Thai and Kentucky Fried Chicken around the corner from her apartment. Culture Culture Culture.
Alex is a pint-size, two-stepping queen who can be found at her new apartment in Corso Italia with her British boyfriend and their new potted fern. She is a self proclaimed taco expert, so look for her Taco blog, where she will rate every taco she can get her hands on.
Alex was worked in a mix of newspapers, wire services and other community media in Texas and the United States.
Before graduating from the University of Western Ontario's Master of Arts Journalism program in 2010, she earned a degree in Communication Studies/Computer Science from the University of Windsor while making ends meet as a web designer, freelance writer, campus TV news host and bartender. She makes a mean Mojito, but suggests you try the house red instead.
A true digital native, Lauren likes to spend her free time blogging, tweeting, tumbling, making silly youtube videos and moonlighting as a digital correspondent for MuchMusic.
She also enjoys rollerblading, running, reading, alliteration, internet culture, comedic television programs, annoying people with cute photos of her cats, pretending that she isn't a 'stupid hipster' so that she can make fun of 'stupid hipsters', meeting new people, lusting over gadgets, travelling this fine world and debunking the myth that "you don't make friends with salad."
In 2001, she met Roger Ebert at the Toronto International Film Festival and addressed him as "Mr. Siskel". She has since learned to thoroughly verify facts (and use her blackberry to Google the names and/or mortality of sources on the fly).
***********This summer we are also lucky enough to have two returning radio roomers, Teri Pecoskie and Maddie White.
Teri Pecoski is back for her second stint in the radio room, where she began as an intern last September. Teri will graduate this spring from the Humber College post-grad journalism program, where she was editor-in-chief of Convergence magazine as well as the college's weekly newspaper, the Et Cetera.
She recently was embedded with the Canadian troops during a military exercise in the Mojave Desert, covering the Canadian Forces' preparations for the ongoing mission in Afghanistan.
Before journalism, Teri completed a master's degree in philosophy at the University of Waterloo, worked as a copy editor at Broadview Press and worked in the philosophy department at Trent University in her hometown of Peterborough.
Madeleine White just celebrated her one year anniversary in the radio room.
In the fall, she will enter her second year in Ryerson's Master of Journalism program.
She'll be working on the Ryersonian during in the first term and completing her thesis - a multimedia project about women running in the Toronto municipal election -- by the end of the winter.
When she's not in the Box, Maddie is usually training for triathlons, teaching the Monday lunch-hour spin class at the Star's gym or hanging out with her Boston Terrier and her partner.
She is fluent in French.