No such thing as the dog days of summer
By Roger Gillespie
Every winter we scour the country looking for the best and the brightest to be part of one of our most challenging intern programs.
Every summer they join us at One Yonge Street.
Every day from now until September you'll agree they are the cream of the crop.
Our summer reporting program is arguably our toughest intern program and the reporters we hire find there is no such thing as the dog days of summer.
Almost from the moment they arrive they are required to hit the streets to cover anything and everything as our full-time staff take well deserved summer vacations.
We are very pleased to introduce you to the six who have joined us for the summer. In a very short time they will be household names to readers of the Star and thestar.com.
Just remember, you read it here first.
Liam Casey is a graduate student in the Ryerson journalism program.
He studied biology at Queen's University and worked on a manuscript, which is currently collecting digital dust, with Paul Quarrington at the Humber School for Writers. He is the editor of the winter 2011 Ryerson Review of Journalism and has interned at the Ottawa Citizen and Toronto Life.
Liam writes a satirical blog, Buster Avenue, that gets so much traffic it periodically crashes the Internet. Liam also toils in a Thursday night old-timers hockey league, waiting to be discovered by NHL scouts.
He is also a fantasy hockey writer with Rotoworld—so if you want to win your office pool, talk to Liam. He is also a die-hard Senators fan, devoted re-reader of Confederacy of Dunces and cannot write without listening to Arcade Fire.
In the line of reporting duty Amy Dempsey has fallen off a motorcycle taxi, been peed on and once drove over her own notebook. Despite many minor mishaps — and in fact, perhaps because of them — journalism is exactly what she wants to be doing.
Amy is fresh out of Carleton University’s Master of Journalism program and has reported for the Ottawa Citizen, CBC Radio’s Mainstreet and The Canadian Press.
Last summer she interned at Contact FM in Kigali, Rwanda, through a program run by the Rwanda Initiative. On her days off she learned to dance like a cow and coherently pronounce the names of local brews. (And she met Edward Norton at a brochette joint.)
Last spring she spent several weeks in Ghana investigating child slavery in the fishing industry on Lake Volta and turned her findings into a multimedia project called Out of Nets.
You can check out more of Amy’s work at her online portfolio or follow her babblings on Twitter.
During her undergraduate years in Halifax, Amy reported for the Dalhousie Gazette, nannied part-time and spent summers serving overpriced seafood to tourists at a Cape Breton resort. She also did a semester abroad at the University of Hull in England where she focused on European history — i.e. gallivanting across the continent.
Amy likes to brag about being from Canada’s east coast, having incredible culinary skills and the time she saved a raccoon’s life.
When Wendy Gillis’ parents attended her grade four parent-teacher interview, they glanced at the student work on the bulletin board and noticed that, while the rest of the kids had written a 1/2 page fairy tale, Wendy’s story was over three pages long.
Apparently, she enjoyed writing.
Over the years she has learned concision,
but her love of writing has remained. Throughout her History/English
degree at the University of Saskatchewan, she worked at the student
newspaper The Sheaf, where she was news editor and
She also freelanced for Saskatoon’s alt-weekly Planet
S, was central bureau chief for Canadian University Press, and was
an intern at The StarPhoenix.
Some of her most memorable stories
include a miraculous fawn delivery,
a two-part feature on the Saskatchewan forestry industry,
and the death of a Saskatoon-born soldier in
Afghanistan. She won a national arts writing award for her
feature on arts funding in Canada.
Because she is from Saskatoon, Wendy knows a
fair amount about potash, wears a bunnyhug (not a hoodie), and will
brag that Saskatchewan sunsets are the best in the world.
But she replanted her prairie roots in Toronto last August so she could attend Ryerson University’s master of journalism program. She can now be spotted maneuvering through downtown streets on her (t)rusty blue bike or training for her next half-marathon along the waterfront.
When she can afford it, she takes ballet classes since part of her still naively believes she will be a ballerina when she grows up. But she’ll settle for a gig writing features for The New Yorker or as the next host of This American Life.
Her semi-regular blogs are mostly about Sabbath the Cat.
Jayme Poisson was born and raised in Toronto and studied political science at McGill University. She became intimately familiar with the Queen’s extensive hat collection and the daily movements of Angelina Jolie while writing for Hello! Canada magazine.
More recently, she has been pursuing a masters of journalism at Carleton University, trying to wrap her head around the rapidly changing industry.
Social media? Check. Video? Coming along. HTML code? Super confusing. While there is nothing she loves more than writing, photography is a close second, so she feels quite lucky for the chance to turn both her hobbies into a career.
In April and May Jayme trekked through Nepal with the help of a grant from the International Development Research Centre. She filmed a documentary on ‘fallen womb’, a painful and debilitating maternal health problem affecting over 600,000 women in the country. Having accumulated countless cuts and bruises and made it through a few precarious bouts of food poisoning, she would say the whole experience has been nothing short of incredibly awesome. She chronicled her trip in this blog.
Jasmeet Sidhu is returning for a second summer at the Toronto Star. She is a graduate of the University of Toronto's Peace and Conflict Studies program. She was in Turkey in May for a month-long field trip with students in her program.
Jasmeet is the youngest of a Sikh family from Malaysia, and the only sibling who didn't do a Bachelors of Science, which she is ridiculed often for.
Her interests vary between social justice and environment issues such as climate change, domestic violence and global health, to being an admitted reality TV and celebrity news junkie.
She is the founder of the Peel Environmental Youth Alliance, a former member of the Toronto Star's Community Editorial Board, and has covered the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland and Denmark for the Star's website.
Joanne Wong was born in Toronto but grew up in Hong Kong, where she learned to read Chinese menus and newspapers.
Some people may call her a banana (or Twinkie, depending on how many calories you can afford), given her "yellow" exterior and "white" interior.
Some of Joanne's hobbies include loitering and mumbling sarcastic comments. She is currently attending Harvard College in Massachusetts, where she is constantly made fun of for being Canadian.
She very much appreciates the crosswords and sudoku puzzles published in the Toronto Star.